Alabama Baseball Gets By Samford
With the score tied at 1-1, Alabama (17-25) plated four runs in the third inning, which included the second home run of the season by Austen Smith. The Smith homer staked Alabama starting pitcher Case Nixon to a 5-1 lead. Nixon (2-1) got the win after throwing five innings, allowing three runs on four hits with two walks and a strikeout. After Chazz Otwell allowed a run on a hit and two walks in the sixth, Pilkington entered in the seventh and retired all nine batters he faced to record the save.
"I thought Case Nixon gave us a really good start, going a good clean five innings and Pilkington was tremendous in the back end of the game," UA Coach Mitch Gaspard said. "Pilkington went nine up and nine down and had to go through the heart of their lineup in the eighth. Hubbard has thrown a lot for us over the last two to three weeks, so we really wanted to give him a night off. We also thought Trey was in a good rhythm, so that made it easier to stick with him."
The Tide finished the night with eight total hits, as Taylor Dugas and Hunter Gregory led the way with two hits each. Dugas, who was also hit by a pitch for the 17th time this season and 38th time in his career, scored two of the five runs for Alabama. Ben Moore was 1-for-3 with two RBI and a run scored and Smith finished the night 1-for-4 with two RBI and a run.
Alabama got on the scoreboard in the first inning on an RBI ground ball off the bat of Moore to score Dugas. Dugas was hit by a pitch to open the game, and after a bunt single by Gregory, both runners moved up 90 feet on a Jared Reaves sac bunt.
Samford (25-16) answered with a run in the bottom of the inning on an RBI double off the bat of Brandon Miller.
After both teams went down in order in the second, Alabama exploded for four runs in the third to open a 5-1 lead. Dugas singled with one out and moved to third on a single by Gregory. With runners on second and third, Reaves plated Dugas with a sac fly to center. Moore followed with a single to left to drive in Gregory, then Smith added with a 2-run shot to left to cap the scoring.
"Offensively, the big blow came from Austen Smith and the two RBIs by Moore were big," Gaspard said. "I thought we played a clean game tonight, committed no errors and threw strikes. Samford hit a lot of balls hard, but right at us, so that helped. That was a good Tuesday night win against a really good club."
Samford got a two-out solo home run by Saxon Butler in the third, a sac fly in the fifth and an RBI double in the sixth to cut Alabama's lead to 5-4 after six. From there, Pilkington needed just 31 pitches to retire all nine batters he faced, while recording a pair of strikeouts, including Christiaan Durdaller to end the game.
Alabama returns to SEC action when it travels to No. 4 South Carolina for three games this weekend. The series starts on Thursday at 6:30 p.m. CDT from Carolina Stadium, with the game being televised on ESPNU.
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