Alabama got started with a nice five-run second inning, but needed another five-spot in the seventh inning to really put the game away as the Crimson Tide took a 12-5 win over Southern Miss at Sewell-Thomas Stadium Wednesday. The Bama bullpen was very strong, closing with four shutout innings as Alabama improved to 3-1.
The top of the lineup was again key to the Alabama offense, going 8-14 (.571) and contributing 10 runs batted in. Chandler Avant and Cobie Vance both went 3-for-4 while Avant added a career-high three runs scored. Avant, Vance, and Hunter Alexander, who finished 2-for-3 with a home run, each had three RBI, and Gene Wood had two RBI and a run scored with two walks.
Crimson Tide relievers Zac Rogers (1-0) and Davis Vainer, who earned his first career save, tossed the final four scoreless frames and struck out a combined five batters.
“I thought this was one of our biggest team wins that we’ve had, and of my career, honestly,” said Alabama Coach Greg Goff. “Just a lot of courage from our hitters, and some of our guys that hadn’t played a lot stepped up tonight. You look at everyone we used, and it took everybody tonight, to beat a very good Southern Miss team.”
Alabama trailed early to a Golden Eagles solo home run, but answered five-fold in the bottom of the second. Taylor Poe walked, Keith Holcombe singled, and Avant drove both home with a double to give the Tide the lead. Avant got the first of his two stolen bases to move to third and scored on a groundout. The final runs came on a single by Vance and home run by Alexander to make it 5-1.
The Golden Eagles came back in the fourth with three runs, using a two-out rally to make it a 5-4 game. Two consecutive singles and then a walk loaded the bases, before a double to center crossed all three runners. The next inning, Southern Miss used two straight singles followed by a one-out walk to load the bases. A walk brought in the tying run.
Alabama would finish the game with seven unanswered runs. In the sixth, Avant led off with his second double and a double by Vance gave Bama the lead at 6-5.
The Tide put it away in the seventh, an inning of Golden Eagles pitching changes with no success and Alabama pinch-hitters helping the cause. Cody Henry led off with a double and pinch-hitter Kyle Kaufman reached on a hit-by-pitch. Another pinch-hitter, Sam Finnerty, singled off the third baseman’s glove to load the bases for Avant, and the Tide shortstop was hit by a pitch to bring one across. Wood followed by drawing a bases-loaded walk to score the inning’s second run.
A sacrifice fly by Vance scored a run and moved everyone up a base. A balk brought home the fourth run of the inning and Alexander’s single drove in the fifth to make it 11-5.
In the eighth, a Chandler Taylor walk and a Zack Coker single put runners on the corners. Southern Miss got a double play, but Taylor scored the final run of the game on the play.
Next up for Alabama is a three-game series with Oral Roberts at Sewell-Thomas, 5 p.m. CST Friday, 2 p.m. Saturday, and 1 Sunday.