BIRMINGHAM, Ala. - The Alabama bats stayed hot as the Crimson Tide scored five runs in the first and eight runs in the third en route to a 15-7 victory over the Samford Bulldogs on Tuesday night from Joe Lee Griffin Field. With 14 hits against nine Bulldog pitchers, Alabama recorded its fourth straight 10-hit game, as eight players had at least one hit and four players tallied multiple hits in the game.
"Offensively, we've been in a pretty good flow over the last four games," Alabama head coach Mitch Gaspard said. "They helped us a little bit early and walked a couple guys, but I felt that we had pretty good offensive pressure in the front part of the game. Our guys are in a better place than we were in the front part of the season. We're getting guys out there that are getting hit by pitches and talking walks and were taking advantage of mistakes."
Leading the way offensively for the Tide (12-9) was Austen Smith's 3-for-5 night to extend his hitting streak to four games. Smith hit his first home run of the season, had a double, a single, three RBI and three runs scored. Ben Moore was 2-for-3 with a double and a single to extend his hitting streak to seven games. Moore also walked three times, scored three runs and drove in two. Kyle Overstreet reached base in all five of his plate appearances, and finished the night 3-for-3 with a double, an RBI, a run scored and two walks. Brett Booth was 1-for-5 with a game-high four RBI and has now hit in a team season-high eight straight games.
Alabama starting pitcher Tucker Hawley earned the win in the mid-week game, as he improves to 4-1 on the season. Hawley threw three innings, allowing one earned run on two hits with a walk and three strikeouts. Samford starting pitcher Patrick McGavin (0-3) took the loss after allowing five runs in the first inning, which was the only inning he threw in the game.
"Hawley had a pretty good start," Gaspard said. "Samford has a good
hitting team and they are a good fastball hitting team. We threw some
guys that haven't pitched a lot. Haack had a rough first inning, but
settled down and threw well against the meat of their lineup in his
second inning. Overall we were pleased with our pitching, but we would
like to see them hold them down. We've played some really close games
against these guys and it was nice to stretch one out and relax a little
Alabama got off to a quick start for the second straight game, this time scoring five runs off Samford (12-10) starting pitcher McGavin in the first inning. After Georgie Salem grounded out to start the game, Kenny Roberts walked and scored on the sixth double of the season by Moore. Moore scored on an error on a Booth ground ball and then four straight hits, singles by Smith, Overstreet and Cameron Carlisle and a double by Mikey White, respectively, produced three more runs for an early 5-0 Bama lead for Hawley.
Samford got a run back when C.K. Irby hit his fourth home run of the season over the left field wall with two outs in the bottom of the first. It was the nation-leading 23rd of the season for the Bulldogs.
Alabama produced their second eight-run inning in as many games when it scored eight times on three hits in the third inning. After scoring three times in the big inning, the Tide got a two-out, three-run double by Booth, then on the next pitch, Smith homered for the first time this season to left field to make the score 13-1.
After Alabama made a pitching change to open the Samford fourth, the Bulldogs scored three runs off reliever Keaton Haack to make the score 13-4 after four.
Alabama got a run back in the top of the fifth, when Overstreet delivered a two-out RBI double to score Moore, who walked for the third time in the game to open the inning, from first, making the score 14-4. The Tide tacked on another run on a sacrifice fly off the bat of Booth in the seventh, scoring Roberts, who singled earlier in the inning.
Samford did not go down without a fight, scoring three times in the seventh inning off UA reliever Trey Pilkington. An RBI single by Brandon Powell plated the first run then a groundout to first allowed Sam Few to score the second run. The final run of the inning came across when Powell scored on an RBI double by Jared Watson, making the score 15-7 in favor of the Tide.
Mike Oczypok made his second appearance of the season to close out the game on the mound for Alabama. Oczypok threw two scoreless and hitless innings, with a strikeout and a hit batter.
Alabama returns to action on Wednesday night when it hosts Jacksonville State at 6:05 p.m. CST from Sewell-Thomas Stadium.