Alabama takes both games in Friday double headerBy Cody Estremera | 02/24/2018 12:49pm
Alabama defeated Washington State in both games of the double header on Friday night.
Alabama’s offense continued standout six games into the season. The Crimson Tide totaled 20 runs in 18 innings Friday night in a double header against Washington State, winning 12-4 and 8-2.
"Honestly, its [the Alabama offense] surpassed my expectations to this point," coach Brad Bohannon said. "There was a lot of hard contact today. I felt good about the group going into the season, and... having an older group of position players, you have guys who aren't trying to do to much."
In game one, Alabama’s offense raked. The Crimson Tide totaled 16 hits.
It was Chandler Taylor’s, who was just 1-for-7 coming into the inning, blast in the fifth inning that set the Crimson Tide in motion. Washington State pitcher Nick Strange threw just one pitch to the lefty slugger, which was hit over the right-center fence for a three-run home run.
Alabama would score three more times in the inning. Cody Henry singled in a run, Joe Breaux walked with the bases loaded and Hunter Alexander singled in the third run.
Alabama started its scoring in the fourth inning. After a groundout and a strikeout, the Crimson Tide recorded five straight singles, scoring its first three runs of the game.
Breaux set a single-game record by finishing with five walks, going 0-0 with a RBI and two runs scored to finish the game.
Starter Sam Finnerty went 5 2/3 innings in his second start of the year. He allowed all four runs, eight hits and two walks, while striking out four Cougars. He took the win for his second on the season, setting a new season high for wins for the right-handed junior.
“Sam is so consistent,” Bohannon said. “There are times where you wish he could put a batter away, but he’s the same guy every time out. He throws a ton of strikes with three pitches. Things don’t speed up on him.”
The sixth inning was the only time Alabama’s pitching staff got into trouble all day. Washington State loaded the bases with three singles, signaling the end of Finnerty’s night. Mason Duke came in and struggled in his 10 pitches. He threw just two strikes, and walked in two runs. Kyle Cameron finished the inning.
Cameron finished with 2 2/3 innings pitched and a strikeout.
With a runner on second in a 2-2 tie, Hunter Alexander came up to bat. He sent the only pitch he saw in the at bat to center field, doubling in Alabama’s go-ahead run in game two. The game would remain close till the fifth inning, where Alabama added three insurance runs. The big hit in the inning was Keith Holcombe’s single up the middle that scored Alexander and Taylor.
Starter Jake Walters was solid in his second outing of the year. The senior pitcher threw six innings and allowed just two hits and two runs. Both runs came off a two-run home run by Cougar designated hitter Blake Clanton. At one point he sat down seven consecutive batters, before hitting a batter.
“I felt really fresh,” Walters said. “The first start of the year is always the most nerve wracking… I kind of realized what was working. The fastball was working both sides of the plate.”
Sophomore right-hander Deacon Medders finished with the save. He pitched the remaining three innings of the game, allowing one hit and striking out three.
Alabama started behind in both games. In game one, Washington State broke the tie in the third inning, while it took the lead immediately with a two-out home run.
“The approach [being down in a game] doesn’t change,” Alexander said. “We go in there planning to hunt the fastball. We just adjust if they adjust.”
The series finale is at 1 p.m. on Saturday. Right-hander Sam Gardner is scheduled to start for The Crimson Tide, while left-hander Scott Sunitsch is the probable starter for Washington State.