Make It a Sweep

Breaking out of a recent slump, the Bama baseball team scored seven runs in the series and doubleheader finale against Florida International on Sunday, but in reality freshman right-hander Tommy Hunter only needed one run.

Box Score

The Indianapolis, Indiana native threw eight shutout innings in his first career start as he pitched Alabama to a 7-0 win and double header sweep of FIU. The Crimson Tide won the first game 12-2.

"Tommy Hunter would have competed well against an SEC team the way he pitched today," Alabama head coach Jim Wells. "He really did a nice job."

Hunter (2-0) faced just one over the minimum through eight innings and allowed only two hits. He did not walk a batter and added six strikeouts.

After allowing a leadoff single to Bryan Pullin in the first inning, Hunter retired the next 17 FIU hitters in order, before Pullin doubled to open the seventh inning.

"It was fun," Hunter said. "I had a good time out there today. I was surprised I did as well as I did in my first start. I was just trying to get through five innings. That was my main focus."

Alabama (8-3) scored the only run it would need in the nightcap when senior first baseman Spencer Pennington singled home senior catcher Kody Valverde with two outs in the bottom of the fourth inning to stake the Tide to a 1-0 lead.

The Crimson Tide added single runs in the fifth and sixth innings to take a 3-0 lead. In the sixth, junior center fielder Emeel Salem was hit by pitch with the bases loaded to score freshman DH Alex Avila from third base. In the seventh, senior second baseman Evan Bush reached on a lead off single, stole second base and scored on Avila's RBI single up the middle.

Alabama broke the game open in the bottom of the seventh inning to take a 7-0 lead. Salem reached on a two-out single and senior third baseman Matt Downs followed with a walk.

Bush singled to left to score Salem and give the Tide a 4-0 lead. Senior backup catcher David Ferazza capped the scoring with a three-run home run down the left field line.

Ferazza, who played the last two innings of each game, went 2-for-2 on Sunday, with two home runs and five RBI.

"We had a couple of big innings late in the game in both games today," Wells said. "It was also nice to see Ferazza continue his air assault."

Kyle Preshong (1-2) took the loss for the Golden Panthers after giving up three runs and seven hits in 6 1/3 innings. He walked four and fanned two batters.

FIU (5-8) managed only three hits against Hunter and sophomore RHP David Robertson in the loss. Hunter pitched around a lead off double in the seventh and Robertson stranded a two-out triple in the ninth to preserve the shutout.

Alabama's three shutouts this season have come in the last six games. Bama shutout Kent State 2-0 on Feb. 18 and blanked FIU 1-0 (Feb. 24) and 7-0 (Feb. 26) this weekend.

GAME NOTES:
*Alabama and Florida International played two games on Sunday at the Joe to make up Saturday afternoon's rain out. This was UA's first double header of the season and both games were nine inning contests.

*Ferazza was 2-for-2 in Sunday's double header with two home runs and five RBI. He stroked a two-run home run in the eighth inning of game one and added a three-run shot down the left field line in the eighth inning of game two.

*Alabama scored eight runs on six hits in the eighth inning Sunday. In game one, Alabama scored four runs on two hits in the eighth inning as Ponder (2-run single) and Ferazza (2-run HR) accounted for the offense. In the nightcap, Bama added four more runs on four hits. Bush had an RBI single and Ferazza drilled a three-run home run.

*Avila was 3-for-6 (.500) in the double header sweep of FIU, with two runs scored and two RBI.

*Pennington was also 3-for-6 (.500) in the double header, with one run scored and one RBI. He also had the game-winning RBI in Sunday's finale. In the three-game series, Pennington was 4-for-7 (.571) and reached base seven times in eight plate appearances.

*Alabama pitchers allowed just one earned run in Sunday's double header. In the three-game series, the UA staff posted a 0.33 ERA and two shutouts against FIU. Bama hurlers struck out 20 and walked three in 27 innings this weekend.

*Alabama's 12 runs and 14 hits in the game one victory over FIU were both season highs. The previous high was 11 runs in an 11-3 win over Samford on Feb. 14 and 11 hits against Samford and Kent State (Feb. 17).

*FIU scored a run in the top of the first inning in game on of Sunday's double header to snap Alabama's 17 2/3 scoreless inning streak.

*Valverde had his second triple of the season when he hit a ball over the head of FIU CF Bryan Pullin to drive in two runs and give UA a 5-1 lead.

*Senior RHP Jordan Davis (2.1 IP, 2 H, 0 R, BB, 0 K) had his best outing of the season out the bullpen in game one against FIU. Davis stranded an inherited runner at first base in the seventh inning and threw 2 1/3 scoreless innings.

*Alabama's bullpen has now stranded its 14 inherited runners.

*Alabama's bullpen has not allowed an earned run in its last 31 2/3 innings, dating back to Feb. 12. The bullpen threw 3 1/3 scoreless innings on Sunday against FIU.

*FIU center fielder Bryan Pullin led off all three games with a base hit.

   


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