Alabama Offense Key To Victory

Every starter in the Alabama lineup recorded at least one base hit and Austen Smith and Ryan Blanchard homered as the Crimson Tide defeated the Mississippi Valley State Delta Devils, 8-3, Tuesday night at Sewell-Thomas Stadium. The win boosts Alabama's record to 28-21 overall, and the loss drops the Delta Devils to 5-42.

"Today I thought the objective was to get the win," Alabama Coach Mitch Gaspard said. "It's also really good to see Ryan Blanchard step up and get some big hits, especially with his three-run home run. You never know with these games. A team comes in with five wins, they don't walk anybody or make any errors, and they made us get hits and we were fortunate tonight as we got 14 of them. We did what we needed to do, that was the main thing today.

"Our focus goes to Troy tomorrow; they're a really good baseball team who's playing really hot and well," Gaspard said. "We got our guys ready to go for a big game tomorrow."

Wednesday evening, the Crimson Tide returns to Sewell-Thomas Stadium for its final midweek game of the season to take on the No. 25 Troy Trojans. First pitch is set for 6:05 p.m. CDT. Alabama will start sophomore lefty Taylor Guilbeau (3-1, 2.97), and the Trojans will start RHP Jeremy McGowan (0-0, 3.60).

Freshman left fielder Ryan Blanchard led the offensive charge for the Tide, with the first home run of his career -- a three-run shot -- and a single and a pair of runs scored. Junior designated hitter Austen Smith went 1-for-3 with a solo home run. The home run was his team-best sixth of the season.

Sophomore catcher Ben Moore posted a 2-for-4 day with a pair of singles, an RBI and a run scored. Moore also had a trio of stolen bases, the most of his career and most by an Alabama player since Ross Wilson swiped three versus LSU on May 30, 2010. Moore is currently fourth in the SEC with 15 total stolen bases this season.

Senior third baseman Kenny Roberts turned in a 2-for-4 game and reached base three times on an RBI double, a single, a walk and also added a run scored, senior right fielder Andrew Miller registered a 2-for-3 game with a double, a single and a run scored, and freshman shortstop Mikey White finished 2-for4 with an RBI double and a single.

Freshman righty Mike Oczypok (4-1) earned his fourth win in his third start and ninth appearance of the year for the Tide, is now tied for the team lead in wins. The walk-on from Royersford, Pa., allowed three runs on seven hits in five innings and struck out a career-high six batters. Junior south paw Taylor Wolfe blanked the opposition in his four innings. Wolfe allowed two hits with four punch outs in his second appearance of the season. The outs recorded today by Wolfe were the first he has recorded since June 4, 2011, at Florida State.

"Taylor Wolfe pitched four really good innings," Gaspard said. "That's always really encouraging as we work toward the back of the season."

David Lostra (3-8) was charged with the loss for the Delta Devils after surrendering seven runs on 11 hits with two strikeouts in 5 1/3 innings.

Alabama kicked off the scoring in the second inning when Smith blasted the second pitch he saw over the left center field corner, which is the deepest part of the ball park, for his sixth homer of the year and a 1-0 lead.

The Tide kept it going in the third, sparked by a Miller double that was lost in the sun by the left fielder. Back-to-back singles by Roberts and Salem, followed as Miller scored on the Salem single to stretch the margin to 2-0. Alabama added another run in the fourth to go up 3-0 when Moore singled and stole second, setting up White's RBI double.

The Delta Devils put together a rally in the fifth inning, scoring three times to tie the game at 3-3. Three straight hits from Demetrius Bonner, Jonathan Parker and Edmund Cheatham pushed their first runner across and after a pop out, German Hays singled into left field to drive in Parker and Cheatham to tie ball game.

The Alabama offense responded quickly in the bottom of the frame, as Blanchard singled to lead off the inning and Roberts double to the left field corner to score Blanchard from first. After the next two batters were retired, Moore singled to the right center gap to cap off the inning with a 5-3 advantage.

Brett Booth led off the sixth inning and after Miller's single down the right field line put runners on the corners, Blanchard clubbed an 0-1 pitch over the left field wall for the first home run of his career and an 8-3 lead. From there, Wolfe shut down the opposing lineup to seal the Tide's 28th victory, his first save of the season and second of his career.

BamaMag Top Stories