Alabama Baseball Offense In Gear
Alabama (10-5) went on an offensive tear versus Eastern Illinois (1-9), setting season-highs in runs scored with 12 and hits with 18. Brock Bennett contributed in large part to that run total, going 3-for-4 with three RBI and one run scored. Also adding to the Tide's offense was Jared Reaves who also went 3-for-4 while knocking in two runs and crossing the plate once himself. Finally, Jon Kelton went 2-for-3 with two runs, continuing his hot streak over the last four games where he's hitting .308.
"Offensively, this was our best game to this point," Bama Coach Mitch Gaspard said. "With 18 hits, we had a great approach and a lot of line drives. It was just a clean game all around."
The Tide's pitching complemented the offense well, thanks to another stellar start from Adam Morgan. Morgan (2-1) went 7.0 innings, allowing only one run on two hits while walking one and striking out five to earn the win. Jay Shaw finished out the game for the Tide with his second outing in as many nights, going 2.0 innings, allowing only two hits while striking out three. Panthers starter Luke Bushur (0-2) is tagged with the loss.
"I thought Adam came out sharp today, gave us a great start which was what we wanted to see from him," Gaspard added. "I thought we pitched it well. We defended the field well and were obviously able to get a good lead and build on it. It was a good win for us and it's something we can build on into tomorrow."
Alabama kicked the scoring off in the first, using three straight singles from Bennett, Reaves and Austen Smith to score the first run of the game. Josh Rosecrans followed Smith up with an RBI groundout to cross Reaves. The hits continued as Andrew Miller lined a sharp grounder through the right side, plating Smith to set the score at 3-0 after one inning of play.
The Tide added another run in the bottom of the second, starting off the inning with a leadoff single from Jon Kelton. Reaves then doubled in his team-leading 20th RBI of the season, plating Kelton to extend the lead to 4-0.
Alabama added some more runs to its total in the bottom of the third. A bases-loaded single by Taylor Dugas plated two and a single from Bennett immediately following added another. A double from Jared Reaves brought Dugas around to bring the inning's total to four, making the score 8-0 through three.
Eastern Illinois got its first hit and first run of the game in the fifth inning. A double by Ben Thoma followed by two infield groundouts allowed one run to score, bringing the score to 8-1.
The Tide added two more runs in the bottom of the fifth. An infield single by Bennett plated two Tide runners to boost the score to 10-1.
Alabama crossed two more runs thanks to its bench players. A leadoff single from pinch hitter James Tullidge followed by a double from pinch hitter Case Nixon put runners on second and third. A balk from Panthers reliever Josh Wilson allowed Tullidge to cross. A single through the right side from pinch hitter Hunter Gregory gave the Tide another run, steadying the score at 12-1, the eventual final.
Alabama returns to action on Sunday in search of a sweep of the Panthers. The Tide will throw sophomore RHP Tucker Hawley (2-1) while Eastern Illinois looks to counter with freshman lefty Christian Slaznik (0-2). The game is scheduled for a 1:05 p.m. CST start at Sewell-Thomas Stadium.
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