Baseball Uses Wild Inning to Beat UT

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. -- A wild series of events in the top of the fifth inning, featuring five walks, three errors and one bench-clearing opened the door to six Alabama runs without the benefit of a hit and lifted the Crimson Tide (32-14, 13-9 SEC) to a 6-2 victory over the Tennessee Vols (25-21, 8-14 SEC).

The excitement began with Travis Garner and Allen Rice on second and first, respectively, with one out and Adam Pavkovich at the plate. The runners broke with the 1-0 pitch as Pavkovich grounded up the middle. Shortstop Brian Cleveland fielded and could not beat Rice to the bag at second. He then threw low to first, failing to retire Pavkovich.

Meanwhile, Garner never slowed down on the play, rounding third for home. First baseman Nick Crowe misfired to the plate as Garner collided with Catcher Javi Herrera. Garner, yet to touch the plate, attempted to untie himself from Herrera, and as he broke free and touched home the benches cleared and a near-brawl ensued.

No punches were thrown and both teams' coaches' quickly separated the squads, sending them back to their respective dugouts. Home plate umpire A.J. Lostaglio issued a warning to both teams, but made no ejections.

Overall, Vol starter Ben Riley walked five, hit one batter as the Vols committed three errors in the top of the fifth. "I don't think I've ever seen that," Alabama head coach Jim Wells said. "That's what's great about the game and it's even better because we won."

"We haven't won a road series in a long time and winning on Friday night gives you a good chance to do that," Wells said. "We had good pitching and some good luck and were able to come out with a win tonight."

Tide pitcher Brent Carter and another stellar outing as the Tide's Friday night starter. Carter has recorded 25 strikeouts in his past 17 innings of work (spanning two games). Of Carters last 51 outs recorded, 25 have come via strikeout.

"It feels good to come out and do this after struggling earlier this year," Carter said. "Everything was on again for me tonight. The fastball and changeup were working well and it kept them off balance."

Riley, who started for Tennessee, took the loss for the Vols. He gave up six runs (two earned) on only three hits in four and one third innings. Alabama has won its last three games in which they managed only three hits, the last against Centenary in Tuscaloosa on February 19.

Saturday's game will be televised by Comcast Sports Southeast (CSS Ch. 29 Tuscaloosa) at 6 p.m. CST.

BamaMag Top Stories