Tide Baseball Hangs On For 3-2 Win
"I thought [Tucker] Hawley gave us a good start, then [Taylor] Guilbeau came in and gave us a couple of innings," Alabama Coach Mitch Gaspard said. "We wanted to stretch Ray [Castillo] out a little bit with two innings and we certainly weren't expecting that in the ninth, but on Tuesdays after tough weekends, sometimes you just have to find a way to win and that's we did tonight."
Hawley did not factor into the decision in his fifth start of the year, despite allowing only three hits and tying his season-high with six strikeouts. After five scoreless innings, Hawley gave way to sophomore south paw Taylor Guilbeau (2-1), who got up the win after two innings in relief of Hawley, allowing one run on two hits with two punch outs. Freshman right-hander Ray Castillo pitched the final two innings to pick up his sixth save of the season, allowing one run on one hit and a walk with two strikeouts.
Freshman second baseman Kyle Overstreet led the Tide offensively, going 2-for-3 with a pair of RBI singles and a walk. Sophomore right fielder Ben Moore was 2-for-4 with two singles and a run scored and senior catcher Brett Booth was 1-for-3 with a single, a hit by pitch and a run scored. Freshman third baseman Daniel Cucjen was 2-for-4 with two singles in his first start as a member of the Crimson Tide.
"Offensively, we hit a few balls hard and worked underneath some balls," Gaspard said. "We have to get a few more line drives, but their kid did a nice job making some pitches and I thought they made some nice defensive plays as well. At the end of the day, it's a win and that is what's important right now. Hopefully tomorrow we play a little bit cleaner and a little bit better."
Alabama wasted no time getting on the board. After two outs to start the first inning, Moore and Booth got back-to-back singles to set up runners on the corners for Overstreet, who stroked a single into left field to give Alabama an early 1-0 lead.
Other than the early Tide run, the starting pitchers locked into a pitchers' duel early, allowing nothing through the next four innings. After allowing two hits in the second, Hawley retired the next nine batters he faced.
After Hawley gave way to Guilbeau in the sixth, the Braves' Angel Rosa singled to right to open the inning and was advanced to second on a sacrifice bunt by Ryant Piper. Josh Powell doubled down the right field line to drive in Rosa, tying the game at 1-1.
Booth set the table for the Crimson Tide in the bottom of the frame after being hit by a pitch to lead off the inning. Booth advanced to second on a balk and took third on a wild pitch. Booth made it home on the next at-bat, as Overstreet recorded his second RBI single of the game. After Mikey White reached on a fielder's choice, a pair of errors by Alcorn State's Mundo Sanchez allowed Andrew Miller to reach second on his single and allowed White to come all the way around to put the Tide up, 3-1.
The Tide had a chance to extend its lead after loading the bases with one out in the eighth inning, but failed to cash in.
After Castillo walked two of the first three batters he faced in the ninth inning, a 2-3-4-3-6 pick off at first allowed the runner from second to score from second to cut the lead to 3-2. Although Castillo walked the next batter, he was able to strike out the final batter of the frame, sealing the win for Alabama.
The No. 22 Alabama Crimson Tide returns to Sewell-Thomas Stadium Wednesday night to host the second game against Alcorn State. First pitch is set for 5:05 p.m. CT. Freshman right-hander Mike Oczypok (1-0, 3.38) will make his first career start for Alabama, and the Braves will trot out Ryan Fuentes (0-1, 8.20).
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