Impressive Bullpen Effort, Timely Hit Leads Alabama Baseball to 8-6 Win over Eighth-Ranked Ole Miss
Alabama baseball earned its first SEC win of the season, taking down eighth-ranked Ole Miss, 8-6, thanks to an impressive performance from the Crimson Tide bullpen and a timely two-RBI double by Drew Williamson in the eighth. With the victory, UA improves to 17-3 overall and 1-1 in Southeastern Conference play.
“I’m really excited to get our first road SEC win today, especially considering that we didn’t play our best baseball,” said Alabama head coach Brad Bohannon. “Even though the second inning got away from us, we kept competing. Our bullpen was outstanding again, giving up only one run in 7.1 innings of work, and we had more solid contact offensively.”
Following a Friday night centered around starting pitching, Saturday’s matchup saw both starters exit the game before the third inning was complete. Despite a five-run second by Ole Miss, Alabama’s five relievers allowed just one unearned run across the final 7.1 frames and did not allow a run in the final five innings on the way to the win. Junior Deacon Medders (2-1) collected his second win of the season with a scoreless seventh inning and was followed by Jeremy Randolph. The graduate closer earned his fourth save in as many chances thanks to 2.0 scoreless innings, highlighted by a pair of strikeouts in the ninth.
Alabama’s offense also shined on Saturday after a slow start to the series in game one. The Crimson Tide bats accumulated 13 hits with seven of the nine starters recording at least one knock while all nine reached base safely. The effort at the plate was highlighted by Williamson’s two-out, two-run double in the eighth. Also contributing a pair of RBI was Joe Breaux, with the senior finishing 2-for-3 with a home run, a pair of walks and one run to go with his RBI. Junior Kolby Robinson led Alabama in hits with a 3-for-4 performance that included a triple, an RBI and one run scored.
The Crimson Tide was first on the board in game two, scoring a pair in the top of the second. Sophomore Tyler Gentry reached on a fielding error to start the frame and moved into scoring position after stealing second. A pair of walks followed to load them up before Robinson sent a sacrifice fly to center to cross Gentry one out later for the game’s first tally. After a walk packed the bases once again, Breaux drew a walk of his own to push across one more and make it a 2-0 ballgame.
The Rebels answered with a five-run home half of the second to gain a three-run advantage through two innings of play at 5-2. Both teams went scoreless until the fourth when Alabama took the lead back with four runs on five hits. The rally began with a leadoff triple from Robinson. Junior Kobe Morris brought Robinson home in the next at-bat with a sacrifice fly to center to cut the Rebel lead to two.
That lead was split in half two pitches later when Breaux sent an 0-1 pitch deep to right for his second home run of the season, ending the Ole Miss starter’s afternoon. The new Rebel arm was greeted with a double from junior Brett Auerbach to continue the rally. Following a swinging bunt that moved Auerbach to third, Gentry found a hole on the left side for an RBI-single to even things up at five apiece. The Tide would go in front in the next at-bat, with senior Keith Holcombe sending a single through the right side on the first pitch he saw to give the Tide a 6-5 lead. Alabama’s advantage would not last long, as Ole Miss tied things up at 6-6 with one run in the home half of the fourth.
The two bullpens then battled, keeping both offenses off the board from the fifth through the seventh inning until the Tide gained the lead for good in the eighth. Junior Morgan McCullough led things off with a single to force another Ole Miss pitching change. The new reliever got the first two outs, but then gave up a single to pinch-hitter John Trousdale, also a junior. A wild pitch moved both runners into scoring position before Williamson sent a laser down the line in left for a two-RBI double to give Alabama the 8-6 advantage.
With the Tide in front, Randolph entered to close things out. The Rebels reached a pair in the eighth, but a 6-4-3 double play ended the threat to send it to the ninth. Ole Miss drew a one-out walk in the final frame, but back-to-back swinging strikeouts for Randolph earned him the save and got the Crimson Tide the series-evening win.
Alabama and Ole Miss square off in the rubber match to decide the series tomorrow at Swayze Field with a 1:30 p.m. CT first pitch scheduled. The Crimson Tide will send junior right-hander Wil Freeman to the mound while the Rebels will call on righty Gunnar Hoglund, a freshman, in the Sunday start. Fans can catch the series finale on SEC Network+.
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