Three-Run Ninth Propels Alabama Baseball to 6-3 Win at Jacksonville State
Alabama baseball fell behind early but battled back for the 6-3 win over Jacksonville State on Wednesday night at Rudy Abbott Field, using a three-run ninth inning to secure the midweek victory. The win helped UA clinch the series, 2-0, in the home-and-home with the Gamecocks and improved Alabama’s overall record to 25-17.
“Kyle Cameron did a great job out of the bullpen of settling the game after Jacksonville State took the lead on us twice. We responded each time and were able to pull away there late,” said Alabama head coach Brad Bohannon. “This was a really good win for us and hopefully it will get us on track to have a good weekend against LSU.”
Jacksonville State got out front with one in the third before the Tide evened things up with a run in the fourth. The home half of that fourth saw the Gamecocks take a 3-1 lead thanks to a pair of runs. Alabama was able to even it up again, recording single tallies in both the fifth and sixth before the three-run ninth blew things open and powered the Crimson Tide to the midweek win.
Alabama reliever Kyle Cameron (3-0) earned the win thanks to a career-high tying 4.0 perfect frames. The redshirt junior faced 12, sitting them down in order while striking out a career-best six batters. Cameron was followed by graduate Jeremy Randolph (7) who picked up his seventh save in as many chances with 1.0 inning of work, ending with a swinging strikeout to secure the win.
All 10 Tide batters reached base safely at least once, led by Brett Auerbach. The junior reached in all four plate appearances, going 2-for-2 with a pair of walks while adding a double, an RBI, one run and a stolen base on the night. Also contributing two hits were freshman T.J. Reeves and junior Morgan McCullough. In addition to his two hits, Reeves tallied a walk, an RBI, one run scored and a stolen base on Wednesday.
Jacksonville State was first on the board in the bottom of the third, using a one-out grounder to score a runner from third for a 1-0 lead. Alabama came right back to match with one of its own in the top of the fourth, using a two-out rally to even things up. A walk to freshman Drew Williamson put one on for Auerbach. The junior backstop sent a double to the gap in left-center, scoring Williamson to make it 1-1.
The Gamecocks countered with a pair of runs in the home half of the fourth to regain the advantage at 3-1. Alabama cut the lead in half in the top of the fifth, answering JSU once again. A one-out single from Keith Holcombe gave the Tide a baserunner. The senior moved to second on a single and third on an error before sophomore Tyler Gentry sent one deep to center for a sacrifice fly, scoring Holcombe and narrowing the gap to one run.
Alabama was able to knot things up at 3-3 in the top of the sixth with one more run. Auerbach started the rally with a leadoff walk and moved into scoring position on a passed ball. One out later, the Tide backstop stole third to put himself 90 feet away before coming around to score on a single from junior Kolby Robinson.
Both teams then went scoreless until the top of the ninth, when the Crimson Tide posted three runs, putting the game out of reach at 6-3. Robinson led things off with a walk before pinch-hitter Walker McCleney drew a free pass of his own, putting two on. A key sacrifice bunt from Holcombe in the next at-bat put both runners in scoring position before a wild pitch moved both runners up, crossing Robinson for the go-ahead run.
In that same plate appearance, Reeves sent a single to center to plate McCleney for the two-run advantage and force a JSU pitching change. The new arm allowed a single and then got a tailor-made double play, but a throwing error kept everyone on the bases and allowed Reeves to score for the 6-3 advantage. The three-run lead proved more than enough as Randolph closed things down in the ninth for the save.
Alabama now returns home to host No. 14 LSU for a three-game weekend series from April 26-28. The Friday matchup is slated for 6 p.m. CT followed by a 2 p.m. start on Saturday. Things will wrap up on Sunday afternoon with a 1 p.m. first pitch at Sewell-Thomas Stadium. All three games can be seen live on SEC Network+.
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