Freshman Hurls Tide Past Samford

HOOVER – Freshman Jake Walters earned his first career start and excelled in the role, tossing five innings and striking out a season-high nine batters to lead Alabama baseball to the 8-6 win over Samford on Tuesday inside Hoover Metropolitan Stadium. With the victory, Alabama improves to 12-7.

“I thought Jake did a great job, and he had five really clean innings and piled up the strikeouts early,” said Alabama Coach Mitch Gaspard. “Samford is a good offensive team and has been for a long time, so it was good to get the win tonight.”

Walters got off on a tear, recording five of his first six out by way of the strikeout. Making his first career start for the Crimson Tide, the freshman right-hander surrendered just two hits over 5.0 scoreless innings, racking up nine strikeouts against just two walks.

“I was very confident that Walters would pitch well tonight,” said Gaspard. “He has been solid every time out, and that continued today. That performance was good for him, and I think it gave him a lot of confidence moving forward.”

Alabama returns to Southeastern Conference action this weekend when the Tide (2-1 in SEC play) hosts Texas A&M (3-0).

The offense provided support to Walters, contributing eight runs on the power of 13 total hits, including three extra-base knocks. Casey Hughston got it started for the Tide in the bottom of the second, registering his team-leading fourth home run of the season off Samford starter Tristan Widra.

Shortstop Mikey White broke the game open in the bottom fifth, emptying the bases with a three-run triple to push the Tide’s lead to 4-0. Hughston followed with an RBI-single to left, ahead of Chance Vincent’s RBI-knock to cap the Tide’s five-run inning.

Samford answered the Alabama’s big inning in its next trip to the plate, tacking on four runs in the top half of the sixth. The Bulldogs got a pair of runs off back-to-back triples, before a wild pitch and an RBI-double inched the score to within two runs at 6-4.

White tacked on another run in the bottom of the sixth, his fourth RBI of the game, scoring Chandler Avant who singled earlier in the frame.

White finished the night 3-for-4, collecting a team-high four RBI and two runs scored. Hughston finished 3-for-4, with a pair of RBI and two runs scored. Avant turned in the Tide’s third three-hit effort, going 3-for-5 with a double and two runs scored.

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