Alabama baseball came into the weekend on a four-game losing streak, but that is now in the rear view mirror. The Crimson Tide took its second straight win over Louisiana-Monroe Saturday to clinch the series and set up a possible sweep on Sunday.
A pair of three-run innings from the Alabama bats and nine innings of excellent pitching were the combination Saturday as the Crimson Tidee downed ULM, 6-2, at Sewell-Thomas Stadium. With the win, the Crimson Tide earns the series victory and improves to 5-5 on the season.
Leadoff man Chandler Avant continued his hot hitting with a 3-4 day with a run scored and an RBI for his fifth multi-hit game in the season. Sam Finnerty had a key pinch hit double that drove in two runs. Eight of the nine starters delivered at least one hit and 10 of the 11 batters had at least one hit.
Junior right-hander Jake Walters started and went six innings and earned his second win of the season. He allowed two unearned runs on six hits with no walks and six strikeouts. Garrett Suchey pitched three innings of scoreless relief, allowing one hit and earning his first save.
“I’m really pleased with the way our guys came out again today and put some competitive at-bats together early,” said Alabama Coach Greg Goff. “The biggest difference for us now is that we are consistently putting hits together; that gives us a chance to score some runs. We’re still not at our final destination, but we’re definitely working in the right direction.
“I was really proud of how Jake (Walters) came out and put up zeros for us and our guys really played great defense behind him.”
Alabama evened its record at 5-5 with its second win over ULM. The teams conclude the series at 1 p.m. Sunday. Sophomore left-hander Dylan Duarte will be on the mound for Alabama with junior right-hander Chase Beal pitching for the Warhawks.
Alabama got three runs in the second inning. Cody Henry led off with a single and Kyle Kaufman doubled to put runners at second and third. A balk scored Henry and moved Kaufman to third, where he scored on Chandler Taylor’s sacrifice fly. Connor Short doubled and came in on Avant’s second hit of the day, a double to left.
ULM scored a run on two hits in the fourth and another on two hits in the sixth to close to within 3-2.
Alabama responded with its second three-run inning. Taylor had a leadoff single and was sacrificed to second. Pinch hitter Tanner DeVinny lined a single to right to put runners on the corners. Avant was hit by a pitch to load the bases with one out.
Alabama responded in the next half inning, striking for three runs to widen the advantage to 6-2. Taylor began the stanza with a leadoff single before advancing to second on a sacrifice bunt from Short. Tanner DeVinny entered in a pinch-hit role and took advantage of the opportunity, lining a single to right to put runners on the corners. A hit-by-pitch for Avant loaded the bases with one down.
Entering as the second pinch-hitter in the inning, Sam Finnerty followed with a two-run double to right-center to increase the lead to 5-2 and put himself and Avant on second and third. A wild pitch allowed the inning’s final run to cross, pushing the advantage to 6-2, the eventual final.
Suchey shut down the Warhawks over the final three frames, facing just one batter over the minimum and using the strikeout to record four of his nine outs for the save.