The Crimson Tide extended its current win-steak to six games, a span in which it has scored 65 runs and totaled 98 hits.
"When I heard the PA guy go, ‘Four runs on one hit and three errors' (after the bottom of the seventh inning), it kind of summed up the game for me," Alabama Coach Jim Wells said.
The bottom of the seventh was likely the worst half inning of Alabama baseball this season, maybe this century. Tide pitchers issued four walks and two wild pitches, and there were fielding errors by Matt Downs, Greg Paiml and Emeel Salem. Wes Henderson at first was unable to dig out low throws at first from Paiml and Downs.
"It's just uncharacteristic," Wells said. "A lot of errors, the walks aren't uncharacteristic but the errors and walks bunched together made for a long evening."
"But the guys came back and swung the bat."
All of a sudden, the Tide looked like the sixth-ranked team in the country, bouncing back with a six-run eighth inning before tacking on three in the ninth inning.
With two men aboard and one out in the eighth, Wells inserted regular starting catcher Kody Valverde to pinch-hit for nine-hole hitter Greg Paiml. Valverde delivered a two-run double in the left center field gap.
"We were trying to make something happen then and not wait till the ninth and Valverde comes up and gets a hit like a veteran hitter can and should," Wells said.
Emeel Salem followed with an RBI-double, Matt Downs walked and Alex Avila doubled driving in two more runs. Evan Bush singled to drive in Avila.
The inning was a part of a school record-tying five hit night for Salem. He tripled to lead off the game and had singles in the third and fifth inning. Salem is six for his last six in the first inning of games.
Salem and Matt Downs combined to go 8 for 10 on the night with seven RBIs and seven runs scored. Ryan Rhoden matched his career high with three hits in the game.
"I feel like every time I get on base he's moving me around and that's what we need to do to get to the heart of the order and get guys in," Salem said. "It's definitely exciting to get five hits. I wish I had gotten six. I might as well have gone the whole way."
Josh Copeland (1-0) picked up his first win of the year in one and a third innings of relief. David Robertson pitched the ninth inning retiring the side in order. "
"Copeland was a bright spot," Wells said. "Robertson needs some work and he got out with less than 10 pitches. We're just glad to have a win and leave here."
Alabama hosts Auburn at Sewell-Thomas in a three-game series beginning Friday night at 6:30 p.m. Saturday's game is also an evening affair, with a 6 p.m. start time scheduled. Sunday's game is scheduled to begin at 2 p.m.