Good pitching almost always wins in baseball. Pair good pitching with good hitting and a team would almost have to field like the Three Stooges to have a chance to lose. Alabama had that good pitching and good hitting Saturday night and the result was a very nice bounce-back win over No. 21 Arkansas.
Dylan Duarte’s 8 1/3 innings of one-run baseball paired with two big innings from the Crimson Tide offense propelled Alabama to a 7-1 win at Sewell-Thomas Stadium. The win moves the Tide to 13-14 on the season and 2-6 in Southeastern Conference play. Arkansas is 21-6, including 6-2 in SEC play.
“That’s the best I’ve seen any of (our starters) look this year,” said Alabama Coach Greg Goff. “That was awesome to watch. Dylan (Duarte) had a lot of courage and competitive spirit, and I was really proud of him. People don’t see the practices and development; this guy has bought in to what we’ve asked him to do, and he’s got his body into great shape. Early in the year, he was getting three to four innings and now you see that his hard work has paid off. For him to get to almost 120 pitches tonight is amazing against a really good Arkansas team.”
Alabama received a dominant performance from Duarte (2-1). The sophomore allowed only one run on six hits with no walks and had four strikeouts with a career-high 116 pitches. Freshman Davis Vainer got the last two outs for the Tide.
Seven of the nine Bama starters collected at least one hit. The offense was paced by multi-hit efforts from Hunter Alexander, Cody Henry, and Tanner DeVinny. Alexander collected a pair of hits in four at-bats, while adding one RBI and a season-high two runs scored. Henry tallied his 10th multi-hit game of the season, which ties him for the team lead, going 2-for-4 with one RBI and two runs scored. DeVinny finished his night with a 2-for-3 effort that included one RBI, one walk, and a run scored to extend his SEC hitting streak to six games.
The teams close out the series at noon Sunday with SEC Network televising the game. The Crimson Tide calls on senior right-hander Nick Eicholtz, while the Razorbacks look to righty Josh Alberius, also a senior, on getaway day. The rubber match will air live on SEC Network.
Here’s how the scoring went:
Two singles around a groundout gave Arkansas a 1-0 lead in the top of the second.
Alabama answered in the bottom half with four runs. Alexander led off with a double down the left field line and came across to score on a single by Henry. DeVinny drew a walk to place runners on first and second for the Tide. One out later, an RBI-double from Connor Short scored one to put Alabama in front, 2-1. Logan Carey followed with a single to plate one before a Cobie Vance groundout scored the fourth.
The Tide widened the margin to 7-1 in the fifth. Chandler Avant singled through the left side and advanced to second on a missed pickoff throw. Alexander’s singles scored Avant. Back-to-back singles by Henry and DeVinny scored a run and the final run came home on a wild pitch.
Vainer was effective in closing it out with two strikeouts.