Alabama baseball completes sweep of North DakotaBy Elliott Propes | 02/28/2016 6:36pm
Alabama swept the series against North Dakota this weekend. CW | Layton Dudley
North Dakota came to Tuscaloosa looking to build off a series win over No. 12 USC last weekend, but the Crimson Tide prevented that, sweeping the Fighting Hawks in a three game series this weekend after a 7-1 victory on Sunday, reaching a 6-1 overall record.
North Dakota got an early 1-0 lead in the second inning, but the Crimson Tide responded, getting the lead in the third inning after freshman Keith Holcombe tripled left and scoring two runs. The Crimson Tide got one more run that inning and added four more in the eighth. Holcombe who had the walk-off hit Friday night finished the series 3-for- with three RBIs.
“I soon as I saw [the left fielder’s] back turn I was most definitely thinking three,” Holcombe said. “I’m just going out there competing, doing whatever I can to help out the team.”
It’s young players that are getting it done for Alabama. Out of the nine players that have played in at least five games, only three have been upperclassmen, Georgie Salem, Chance Vincent and Will Haynie. The six freshmen and sophomores have collected 24 RBIs in just seven games, and combine for a .336 batting average.
“I think there is going to be some growing pains with some guys," coach Mitch Gaspard said. "[I] thought we were overly aggressive at times. It seems like when young guys are stepping up it has been the young guys to deliver big hits."
Alabama received consideration for the top 25 rankings last week, but the team was just left out after taking two of three in its opening series against Maryland, who made the super regionals last season. Alabama then took a mid-week game against Nicholls State 13-1.
“We’ve seen a lot of really good qualities in seven games from our team,” Gaspard said. “We felt like we had a deep pitching staff and that appears to be the case right now, and offensively we’ve done some good things, but I think the number one thing is and these guys would admit this team is very competitive, and got a good fire to them and a good edge to them.”
Alabama is going on a road trip starting Tuesday March 1 at Troy. The Crimson Tide will then travel to Cary, North Carolina for a weekend round-robin tournament against Notre Dame, Niagara, N.C. State and Brown.