After spotting Vanderbilt a six-run lead, including five runs in the bottom of the first inning, the University of Alabama baseball team scored 10 runs in the final five innings to post a 10-8 come-from-behind win over the No. 25 Commodores at Hawkins Field on Sunday afternoon.
Junior third baseman Evan Bush and senior right fielder Morrow Thomley had six his and five RBI and each provided a clutch two-out hit in the late innings for the win.
Alabama managed only 10 hits in the first two games of the series, which resulted in a pair of one-run losses. On Sunday, Alabama had 11 hits and scored three or more runs in three innings for the win.
"It's funny how things work," Alabama head coach Jim Wells said following his 650th career win. "We scored some runs and did not pitch as well. We score those runs any other day we would have won more games. We did a great job of coming back. When you fall behind 6-0 and comeback, that shows a lot. We just kept coming at them and got some big hits.
"We were taking good swings and mixing in a few base hits. We did not see that the first two days. This was a good comeback." Thomley capped the comeback with a two-run double off losing pitcher Jeff Sues in the top of the eighth inning to give Alabama its only lead of the weekend series.
Trailing 8-7 in the eighth inning, Alabama's (20-7, 4-2 SEC) late-inning rally started when freshman shortstop Cale Iorg was hit by a pitch to open the inning. After sophomore center fielder Emeel Salem took a called third strike on a 3-2 pitch, Bush picked up his third hit of the game with a double into the left field corner. Senior left fielder Gabe Scott walked to load the bases.
Redshirt freshman Matt Bentley, who hit into an inning-ending double play in the 13th inning of Saturday's 4-3 loss, redeemed himself on Sunday with a sacrifice fly to left field to score Iorg with the tying run.
Thomley followed with his third hit of the game, and second double into the right-center field gap to score Bush and Scott with the go-ahead run and insurance run.
Iorg was hit by a pitch to lead off the inning and Bush doubled into the left field corner to put runners at second and third with one out. Scott then walked to load the bases.
Bentley lifted a sacrifice fly to left to score Iorg with the tying run before Thomley smashed his third hit of the game and second double into the right-center field gap to score Bush and Scott and give Alabama the lead. Thomley was 3-for-5 with two doubles and two RBI in the win.
"We started the hit the ball in the fourth inning," Thomley said. "Then Bush hit the three-run home run. We felt we could comeback. It was good to get the big hits"
Jordan Davis (2-0), who retired seven of the last eight batters he faced, worked a season-high five innings for the win. After allowing two inherited runners to score in the fifth inning, Davis shutout Vandy on six hits over the final five frames. He struck out two and did not walk a batter en route to his second SEC win.
Jeff Sues (2-3), the third of four Vanderbilt pitchers, allowed three runs and three hits in two innings for the loss. The Crimson Tide pulled to within a run at 8-7 in the sixth inning when Bush slammed his eighth home run of the season over the 375-mark in right-center field.
Senior second baseman Allen Rice drew a one-out walk and Iorg followed with a base hit up the middle. After Salem struck out for the second out of the inning, Bush then drilled a 3-2 fastball over 375-mark in right-center field to cut the deficit to 8-7. Bush was 3-for-5 with a double, home run and three RBI in the win.
‘The three-run home run was huge," Wells added. "Their coach (Tim Corbin) told me they don't even hit home runs in batting practice here. It was an amazing win for what we went through the first two days."
The comeback seemed unlikely for the Alabama, which fell behind 6-0 after two innings.
Vanderbilt (17-6, 3-3 SEC) sent 10 men to the plate and scored five runs in the bottom of the first inning to take a 5-0 lead. The Commodores took advantage of three Alabama errors to score a couple of unearned runs and added two more runs on Warner Jones' RBI single and Matt Zeller's one-out sacrifice fly for the early 5-0 lead.
Iorg had two errors in the inning and Bentley added a throwing error as VU built a five-run lead and chased starter Josh Copeland, who faced four batters and did not record an out. Vandy also benefitted from a wild pitch, a passed ball and a hit batter.
"We had a feeling they might jump on us in the first inning after (Saturday's) game," Thomley said. "It was probably the worst we could have played in the first inning."
Vandy made it 6-0 in the second inning when Taylor led off with a double, moved to third on a ground and scored on Jones' sacrifice fly to center field as Lyons could not hold on to Salem's throw.
Alabama got off the deck in the fifth inning and scored four runs to cut the deficit to 6-4. The Crimson Tide had four hits in the inning and took advantage of three Vandy errors.
Junior catcher Charlie Lyons reached on a two-base throwing error by Taylor at shortstop and later scored on Iorg's infield single up the middle. Salem reached on an error to put runners at first and second. Bush then singled to left field to move Salem to second base, but Iorg was thrown out at home by left fielder Stephen Shao on a close play at the plate.
Scott then singled to right to load the bases and Salem crossed the plate when Hernandez misplaced Zeller's throw from right field to make a 6-2 game. Bentley then laced a two-run double to right field to score Bush and Scott to cut the lead to 6-4.
Bentley was 1-for-4 with a career-high three RBI in the win. VU starter Matt Buschmann, who was staked to 6-0 lead after two innings, left the game after a walk to Morrow Thomley and did not pitch the required five innings for the win.
Vandy answered with two runs in the bottom of the inning for an 8-4 lead. Shao greeted reliever with a two-run single up the middle to push Vandy up by four runs.
Then Bush and Thomley took over and the Crimson Tide posted its second largest comeback win of the season.
*Alabama avoided its first sweep by Vanderbilt since 1986 with its 10-8 comeback win today at Hawkins Field.
*Vandy has won three straight series for the first time since 1904-06. The Commodores last five wins over the Crimson Tide have been one run games. The last seven meetings between Alabama and Vandy have been decided by nine total runs.
*Alabama has trailed in 17 of 27 games this season and has 10 come-from-behind wins.
*Alabama's win over Vanderbilt was its largest comeback win of the season. The Tide trailed 6-0 in the second inning and rallied for a 10-8 win. The previous largest comeback win of the season was an 8-7 win over Miami (Ohio) on March 12 as UA erased a 7-2 lead in the eighth inning.
*Coach Jim Wells earned his 650th career win today in Nashville. It was also his 300th all-time SEC game Alabama.
*After going 2-for-23 in the first two games of the series with runners in scoring position, Alabama was 7-for-16 in Sunday's win with men in scoring position.
*Alabama had only two extra base hits in the first two games of the series and collected five in Sunday's win, including four doubles and one home run.
*Vanderbilt scored in the first inning in all three games against Alabama.
*Scott extended his hitting streak to a career best 14 straight games when he reached on an infield single in the fourth inning to break up Matt Buschmann's no-hitter. Scott is batting .400 (18-for-45) during the streak and has raised his season batting average 164 points. For the year, Scott has played in 20 games and is hitting .364 (20-for-55) with four RBI. In six SEC games, Scott is Alabama's leading hitter with a .474 (9-for-19) average.
*Alabama freshman right-hander David Robertson vaulted to second in the SEC with his 0.68 ERA after Saturday performance against Vanderbilt. For the season, the Tuscaloosa native has appeared in 12 games and compiled a 4-2 record. He has worked 26 1/3 innings and allowed eight hits, three runs and two earned runs, with 14 walks and 40 strikeouts. Robertson leads the SEC with the low est opponent's batting average. He has allowed only eight hits (.098) in 83 at-bats this season.
*Alabama continues to lead the SEC in ERA (2.3) and strikeouts (285) this season.
*Alabama has three of the SEC's top five strikeout pitchers this season. Junior RHP T.J. Large is second with 54 strikeouts, senior LHP Brent Carter is third with 53 strikeouts and sophomore LHP Wade LeBlanc is fourth with 48 strikeouts. Robertson is 11th with 40 strikeouts this season.