Alabama Baseball Improves To 14-1

The No. 21 University of Alabama baseball team scored five runs in the bottom of the seventh inning to overcome a one-run deficit en route to a 9-4 win over the University of Minnesota at Sewell-Thomas Stadium on Wednesday night.

Alabama (14-1) scored the five runs on two hits and benefitted from three walks, one hit batter and two Minnesota errors to post its fourth come-from-behind win of the season and its second in as many nights.

The Crimson Tide trailed 4-3 entering the seventh inning when junior DH Brett Whitaker and junior right fielder John David Smelser drew back-to-backs walks against UM reliever Scott Fern. Cullen Sexton replaced Fern and struck out freshman left fielder Brett Booth before walking senior catcher Cody Trotter to load the bases.

Sophomore center fielder Taylor Dugas reached on an error by UM second baseman AJ Petterson as Whitaker and Smelser scored to give Alabama its first lead of the game at 5-4. Junior shortstop Josh Rutledge followed with a two-run single to left to score Trotter and Dugas as the Tide stretched its lead to 7-4. Rutledge took second on the throw home by left fielder Sam Ryan and advanced to third base on catcher Michael Kvasnicka's throwing error. Junior second baseman Ross Wilson followed with an RBI single to plate Rutledge with the final run of the inning as UA had built an 8-4 lead.

The Crimson Tide added an insurance run in the eighth inning when Smelser singled and later scored on Trotter's sacrifice bunt to push the lead to 9-4.

Minnesota (5-11) snapped a scoreless tie by scoring three runs in the top of the fourth inning to take a 3-0 lead. Kvansicka opened the inning with a double and scored on Kyle Knudson's single up the middle. After a pair of ground outs, Ryan drilled a 3-2 pitch over the wall in left field to give the Gophers a 3-0 lead.

Alabama came right back with two runs in the bottom of the fourth inning to cut the lead to 3-2. Dugas opened the inning with a leadoff single and scored on Rutledge's double into left center field to cut the lead to 3-1. Rutledge moved to third base on Wilson's fly out down the right field and he scored on senior first baseman Clay Jones' sacrifice fly to right to make the score 3-2.

The Golden Gophers added an unearned run off sophomore right-hander Tyler White in the sixth inning to take a 4-2 lead. Kyle Geason drew a two-out walk and moved to third base on an infield hit by Ryan and a throwing error by Rutledge. Geason then scored on a wild pitch.

Alabama got the run back in the bottom of the sixth inning when Rutledge and Wilson drew back-to-back two outs walks against Fern on eight consecutive pitches. Jones followed with an RBI single to left to score Rutledge and pull the Tide to within one run at 4-3.

Fern (1-3) was the losing pitcher for the Gophers after allowing three runs and one hit in one-third of an inning. He walked four of the six batters he faced.

Alabama freshman left-hander Adam Windsor (1-0) worked a scoreless seventh inning to pick up his first collegiate win for the Tide.

Alabama will open Southeastern Conference play this weekend when the Crimson Tide hosts the Vanderbilt Commodores in a three-game series. The series opener is set for Friday, March 19, at 6:35 p.m. and continues Saturday, March 20, at 3:05 p.m. and Sunday, March 21, at 2:05 p.m. The Saturday game will be televised live by FSN South and Sunday's game will be televised by CSS.

Game Notes:

*Alabama (14-1) posted its fourth come-from-behind win of the season and second in as many nights with a 9-4 win over Minnesota on Wednesday night. Alabama overcame it largest deficit of the season. The Crimson Tide trailed 3-0 in the fourth inning.

*The Crimson Tide is off to its best start since the 1997 team opened the year with a 15-0 record.

*Alabama is riding a six-game winning streak after its 9-4 win over Minnesota. The Crimson Tide has also won 16 straight home games, including all 10 this season.

*The Crimson Tide scored five runs in the seventh inning against Minnesota and has now scored 28 runs in the seventh inning this season, the most of any inning.

*Junior shortstop Josh Rutledge went 2-for-3 with three runs scored and three RBI on Wednesday. He extended his hitting streak to 10 games and he leads the team with 23 runs scored in 15 games.

*Sophomore center fielder Taylor Dugas went 1-for-5 on Wednesday to extend his hitting streak to five games. Dugas and Rutledge lead the team with 25 hits this season.

*Senior first baseman Clay Jones went 1-for-2 with two RBI in the win over Minnesota to extend his team lead to 23 RBI this season.. Jones also added his first stolen base of the season.

*Junior second baseman Ross Wilson went 1-for-3 with one RBI to extend his hitting streak to seven games and his RBI streak to six games. He also added his first stolen base of the year.

*Freshman left-hander Adam Windsor picked up his first career win for the Tide against Minnesota with a scoreless seventh inning. He retired three of the four batters he faced. He allowed a leadoff single to Ethan Liederman and stranded the runner at third base.

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