Alabama rallied for three two-out runs in the 13th inning for a 10-7 win over Georgia to start a three-game Southeastern Conference baseball series in Athens Thursday.
Chance Vincent’s triple was the big hit in the 13th inning as the Crimson Tide won the second longest game in Bama history – 5 hours, 12 minutes.
It was 7-7 after nine innings and still tied at 7 after 12.
The 13th inning started with Gene Wood being safe when the Georgia center fielder dropped a fly ball. Wood, who had entered the game as a pinch runner, stole second. Two outs later, Chance Vincent tripled to left field to give Alabama a one-run lead.
Keith Holcombe was given an intentional walk and the Tide football-baseball player stole second on the first pitch to backup catcher Taylor Poe. Poe then delivered a double to center to score both runners and give Bama a three-run cushion going to the bottom of the inning.
The drama was not over.
Thomas Burrows, who has been idled with injury, came on in relief and walked the first three batters he faced. But with the bases loaded and no outs, Burrows struck out the next three batters.
Alabama has now won the first game in all three SEC series the Tide has played this year. Bama improved to 16-9 overall and 5-2 in SEC games.
Alabama and Georgia play the second game of the series at 7 p.m. EDT (6 p.m. central time) Friday. Alabama will pitch sophomore right-hander Jake Walters, while the Bulldogs will go with junior right-hander Robert Tyler.
“You got the big hit from (Chance) Vincent,” said Alabama Coach Mitch Gaspard of the team’s late rally. “Then Taylor Poe came in and did a hell of a job for us. For a kid that has had limited playing time this year, he really stepped up and delivered for us in a key spot.”
Alabama took a 4-0 lead in the second inning, but Georgia came back with two runs in the fourth inning and five in the fifth to take a 7-4 advantage. Bama came back with a pair in the seventh and one in the eighth to make it 7-7, where it stayed until the 13th.
Alabama’s sixth pitcher of the game, Matt Foster, evened his record at 2-2 as the junior right-hander pitched four scoreless innings, the longest outing by a Bama relief pitcher this season. He allowed two hits and walked two and struck out six.
Burrows got his fifth save of the season in his first outing since March 4.
“This is one of those good team wins,” Gaspard said. “We used about 20 of the 27 players on our roster, and they all contributed to the victory. Matt Foster was terrific on the mound, it was good to get Tommy (Burrows) back, and all the guys in between from the bullpen were good.”
Vincent, Holcombe, and Will Haynie all had three hits in the contest to lead the Tide at the plate. Vincent added two RBI and a team-high three runs scored on the night. Holcombe added two runs scored, while Haynie finished with two RBI and one run on the night and Poe had two runs batted in in the 13th.
Alabama struck for four runs in the top of the second. Two walks around a single loaded the bases for Haynie, who singled to drive in a run and keep the bases loaded. Daniel Cucjen followed with another run-scoring single. A third run scored on a fielder’s choice. Connor Short’s single made it 4-0.
Short extended his hitting streak to 10 games and his on-base streak to 15 games.
The Tide’s lead had been erased as Georgia took a 7-4 lead to the seventh inning.
Cody Henry led off the seventh with a single and went to third on a passed ball and a fielder’s choice. Vincent’s infield single scored Henry. Holcombe’s bunt single and an error put Vincent on third, and Haynie’s ground out fielder’s choice scored Vincent to pull the Tide to within a run at 7-6.
The Crimson Tide evened things up in the eighth using a pair of hits to score one. Webb began the inning with a leadoff single and then stole second base. Chandler Taylor followed with a double to right to score Webb and make it a 7-7 ballgame going to the ninth.
The two bullpens blanked the opposing offenses for three innings before the Crimson Tide broke through in the 13th.
“This team has some really good qualities about them, and their resiliency is one of them,” Gaspard said. “They stay in the game. They’ve shown the ability to come from behind, and that’s how you have to win games, particularly in the SEC and these tough environments.”