Alabama Baseball Outlasts North Alabama
The red hot Alabama baseball team (22-13, 7-8 SEC) took on the North Alabama Lions (4-29) on a stunning night at Sewell-Thomas Stadium. Coming off an electric series victory over Auburn, the Crimson Tide gutted out the victory over UNA in the final two innings 8-6.
"There's probably times in the past where we would not have found a way to win a game like this," head coach Brad Bohannon said postgame. "Certainly proud of our guys for taking advantage and finishing the game."
Freshman Grayson Hitt started the game on the mound for the second week in a row, and he got a slow start to say the least. Hitt gave up three first inning runs on two walks, and he never seemed to find the strike zone.
William Freeman took the hill for Alabama with only one out in the first inning after the rough start from Hitt. Freeman held the Lions scoreless in the second and third retiring seven straight batters.
SEC Player of the Week Sam Praytor continued his hot streak in the first inning with a line drive two-run home run over the wall in left to cut into the UNA lead. Praytor was designated hitting on the night, and he went 3-for-4 with 4 RBI. Praytor was also a triple away from hitting for the cycle on the night. He definitely wanted to defend his weekly award tonight.
"I'm not surprised at what Praytor's doing right now or what he did last week, I'm a little surprised he didn't heat up sooner," Bohannon said.
After an error and a walk, catcher Johnny Hawk lined a sac-fly into left that was caught on a dive, but it scored Jackson Tate for his first RBI of the year in the second inning and tied the game for Alabama at 3-3. UNA was determined to steal second nearly every time they had a runner on first, and Hawk was able to catch two runners stealing.
Jake Eddington took the mound for Alabama to start the fourth, and he posted two scoreless innings. He came back out to start the sixth, and he allowed a leadoff walk followed by a single. Connor Shamblin took to mound after a sacrifice bunt that moved the runners over, and he allowed a two-RBI single that put the Lions up 5-3.
Alabama got two runners on in the sixth, but two strikeouts and a fly out made them unable to respond. After Shamblin shut down the seventh, it was Praytor time again. Alabama loaded the bases with the help of two walks, and Praytor missed the grand slam by inches as the ball caromed off the wall to score two and tie the game.
Eli Giles started the eighth on the mound, and he allowed a run on an RBI single after a walk and a hit, putting UNA back in front 6-5. Chase Lee relieved Giles with one out, and he delivered, getting the rollover double-play ball to end the inning.
Alabama went to work in the bottom of the eighth putting up three much needed runs thanks to three walks, a Pinckney sac-fly, and a two-RBI single by William Hamiter. Alabama entered the ninth leading 8-6, and Chase Lee ended the Lions' hopes by striking out the side.
"Wasn't our best effort but glad to get a win, glad to have today behind us," Bohannon said.
Alabama will travel to Lexington to take on the Kentucky Wildcats (22-12, 7-8 SEC) in another crucial SEC weekend series starting Friday at 5:30 P.M. CT.
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