A key to baseball success is having starting pitchers who can give a number of quality innings. Alabama starter Geoffrey Bramblett filled that role Friday with eight shutout innings as the Crimson Tide opened the USA Baseball-Irish Classic in Cary, N.C., with a 4-0 win over Notre Dame.
“Geoffrey was really sharp all night long,” said Alabama Coach Mitch Gaspard. “From the first pitch on, he was locked in. He took us deep in the game to help get the win, and then (Matt) Foster finished with a good inning in the ninth. Overall, I thought we played clean with good defense, and we had a lot of energy tonight. This was a really good way to get the tournament started.”
Bramblett (1-0) worked eight innings of five-hit ball, striking out six. He threw 108 pitches, 73 for strikes. The junior right-hander did not issue a walk, the fifth time he’s done so for his career as a starter, and did not allow an extra-base hit. Matt Foster followed with one inning of work to complete the shutout of the Fighting Irish, the Crimson Tide’s first shutout since the team blanked Vanderbilt in the final game of the 2015 regular season.
Alabama has now won seven straight games, moved into the national collegiate baseball rankings at 27, and improved its record to 8-1.
Alabama will resume play on Saturday with a pair of games. The first contest is scheduled for 11:30 a.m. CST against Niagara, and is followed by a 3:30 p.m. CST matchup with North Carolina State. The weekend tournament wraps up with Brown at 11 a.m. Sunday.
Alabama jumped out to an early lead, building an early 3-0 lead after the first inning. The Tide began the game with Keith Holcombe walking on four-pitches. Fellow freshman Cobie Vance followed with a single through the left side before Chandler Taylor drew a four-pitch walk to load the bases.
Cody Henry sent a double down the right field line to clear the bases and give Alabama all the offense it would need. Henry has now reached base in all nine games this season.
The Crimson Tide added a final run in the fourth as Chandler Avant walked and was moved to secong on a single by Will Haynie. Senior first baseman Chance Vincent brought Avant home with a single to left.
“The offense did a good job early in the game, and jumped on their starter in the first,” Gaspard said. “Cody Henry got the big hit to score three in the first, and that really set the tone for the rest of the game.”
Alabama batsmen drew eight walks. Both teams had six hits.