Tide Baseball Tops Troy In 11 Innings
"It was one of those games," Alabama Coach Mitch Gaspard said. "We had nasty (weather) conditions all night, but I thought we competed really hard throughout the ball game. Down twice late we found a way to come back and tie it, obviously Miller gets the big hit at the end to win it. We were right there down to our last strike and found a way to get it done. It's a big win for this new team and I think that can carry us forward."
After Troy (9-3) took a one run lead in the top half of the inning, Miller drove home senior second baseman Jon Kelton and sophomore third baseman Brett Booth with a sharp line drive to right centerfield to give the Crimson Tide its fourth consecutive victory of the season.
Miller finished 1-of-3 with one run and two RBI, reaching base a total of three times, while junior shortstop Jared Reaves notched three RBI's on the night for the Tide. Alabama junior right-hander Nathan Kennedy (1-0) pitched 3.0 innings of relief, allowing just one run to earn the victory. Tyson Workman (2-1) took the loss for the Trojans, giving up two runs on one hit over 2.1 innings of work.
Tide starting pitcher Jonathan Smart recorded his longest outing at Alabama, as he threw 6.1 innings, allowing three runs on seven hits with three strikeouts.
"Jonathan Smart I thought was really good tonight with his start and then I thought Nate Kennedy came in and did a really good job after that," Gaspard said. "I thought our hitters just really competed, they pitched well and did some things but like I just told the team, you have to keep competing, keep going and that's why there are 27 outs."
Alabama (8-4) plated runs in the first, fifth and ninth innings before the dramatic conclusion in the 11th. The Crimson Tide held a 3-0 lead before Troy tied the game in the seventh and eventually took the lead in the ninth, 4-3. Alabama was down to its last strike in the ninth before Dugas was able to drive home Booth to send the game into extra innings.
Dugas led off the game with and a double and later scored his team-leading 14th run on a fielder's choice by Reaves to put the Tide up 1-0.
After three scoreless innings, Alabama would strike again in a big way in the fifth. Reaves ripped a two-out triple to the wall in left-center field, scoring Miller and Dugas to give the Tide a 3-0 lead.
Troy tied the game at 3-3 with three runs in the seventh inning, then took a 4-3 lead with a run in the top of the ninth before Alabama rallied to tie the game in the bottom half of the inning.
In the ninth, Kelton led off with a single and was followed by Booth who grounded into a fielder's choice for the first out. After Miller went down swinging for the second out, Dugas brought home Booth with the dramatic game-tying run.
After falling behind in the count 0-2, Dugas fought through five more pitches before powering a fly ball near the foul line in left that bounced off the glove of hard-charging Troy outfielder Hayden Hillyear. Booth scored and Dugas took second on the play while Hillyear was charged with the error.
Alabama travels to Lawrenceville, Ga. Wednesday to take on the Georgia Bulldogs at Coolray Field in game that will not count toward either team's SEC record. First pitch is scheduled for 7 p.m. EST (6 p.m. central time) with the game being televised by CSS.
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