Troy obliged, scoring three runs in the eighth inning to tie, and three more in the 12th inning to pull out a 7-5 win over Alabama Wednesday afternoon at Sewell-Thomas Stadium.
"There was no question that game wasn't going to end up 4-1," Wells said. "We needed to be more offensive throughout the course of the game after we got the lead. We knew they were coming."
Troy's middle relief held up until their offense came around for three runs in the eight inning against Alabama relievers Patrick Kelly and Will Stroup. Alabama ace Tommy Hunter allowed two inherited runners to score but pitched the eighth, ninth and 10th innings silencing the Troy bats.
"We felt like they wouldn't score any more for a couple of innings, but they pitched well and they're a good team. That was our chance to win," Wells said. "We're probably going to have to be a little more offensive this year and not depend on closing out every time."
Alabama failed to get a runner on base in the 6-11th innings, however, and Josh Copeland took over and took the loss. Josh Dew picked up the win for Troy, pitching two innings and giving up one hit. He loaded the bases and allowed a run in the bottom of the 12th but stayed into to close out the game.
Putting together a bullpen that can close out a game with regularity currently looks like the Tide's biggest challenge. Wells would like to convert Hunter into a closer because of his ability to overpower most hitters and mix in a curveball, but right now he can't afford to remove him from the starting lineup.
"Two months ago, or today or probably two weeks from now that will be the question," he said.
ALABAMA GAME NOTES:
*Alabama has scored in the first inning in all four games this season.
*Freshman third baseman Jake Smith (Hueytown, Alabama) had three hits and three RBI in the loss to Troy. Through four games, he is batting .467 (7-for-15) with one home run and a team-high six RBI.
*Sophomore right fielder Kent Matthes (Orlando, Fla.) hit his second career home run on Wednesday against Troy. Matthes gave the Crimson Tide a 3-1 lead in the fourth inning with an inside-the-park home run that caromed off the top of the wall in left-center field.
*Matthes' inside-the-park home run was the first by an Alabama player in 12 years. Dustan Mohr was the last UA player with an inside-the-park home run against Penn State on March 5, 1995.
*Troy scored three runs on four hits in the eighth inning as the Crimson Tide used three pitchers and only threw eight total pitches.
*Sophomore Tommy Hunter (Indianapolis, Ind.) threw three scoreless innings of relief against Troy. The right-hander allowed one hit and struck out four batters in his first relief appearance of the season. He did allow two inherited runners to score as the Trojans tied the game in the eighth inning.