Stuart McNair

Alabama downs Presbyterian 4-3 in baseball season opener

Pitching, hitting give Alabama win in Greg Goff’s first game as head coach

Senior Nick Eicholtz earned the win, going five innings and allowing three hits, three runs (two earned), striking out three, and not walking a batter. Bama pitchers are on a pitch count and he threw 80 pitches before handing the ball over to sophomore Brock Love. Love threw the final four innings of scoreless baseball to get the save.

Presbyterian starter Brian Kehner suffered the loss, going five innings and allowing four runs (three earned) on nine hits with a pair of walks and strikeouts.

At the plate, Alabama was paced by its first four hitters, who contributed seven of Bama’s 10 hits. Leadoff man Chandler Avant finished 2-for-5 with an RBI and a team-high two runs scored. He was followed by Cobie Vance, who added a pair of hits in four at-bats while contributing one RBI. No. 3 hitter Hunter Alexander reached base safely all four times, going 2-for-2 with a run scored, a walk, and a hit-by-pitch. The Tide’s cleanup man, Chandler Taylor, finished 1-for-4 with a triple and a team-high two RBI.

First-year Coach Greg Goff said, “The biggest thing for me is that these guys have bought in to what we’re doing. Nick Eicholtz has been a tremendous leader on and off the field. Cody Henry has been one of our hardest workers, and I think that all of guys are like that. It’s a special night because great players make great coaches.”

  The Crimson Tide and Blue Hose will return to action at 5 p.m. CST Saturday. Alabama will send junior right-hander Jake Walters to the mound while Presbyterian will counter with a junior righty of their own, Tanner Chock.

Alabama took a 1-0 lead in the first with Avant leading off with a single and eventually scoring on Taylor’s fielder’s choice.

Presbyterian took a 2-1 lead in the top of the second with three hits and a fielder’s choice.

Alexander’s one-out single in the third was followed by Taylor tripling to deep center to even the score at 2-2.

Alabama regained the lead an inning later, plating a pair in the fourth. Cody Henry began the frame with a leadoff double before advancing to third on a groundout by Gene Wood. Avant brought Henry home with a single to left. After a wild pitch, a single by Vance put the Tide up by 4-2.

Presbyterian took advantage of Alabama miscues to score the final run of the game in the fifth. A hit=by-pitch was followed by two wild pitches and a throwing error to end the scoring with Bama winning 4-3.

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