Alabama's pitching leads it past Alabama StateBy Cody Estremera | 02/28/2018 7:37pm
Hunter Alexander finished with a game-high three hits in Alabama's 11-1 win over Alabama State on Wednesday.
Through nine games last year, Alabama was just 4-5, and had been swept by Oral Roberts. It was the first of eight series the Crimson Tide would get swept in that year. After defeating Alabama State 11-1, Alabama is 9-0 on the season.
“As honest as I can be, I didn’t know what to expect,” coach Brad Bohannon said. “I knew we had some good pieces. I think if you would have told me three weeks ago that we would start out 9-0 or 3-6, I could have believed anything. I really just didn’t know. I really didn’t create any expectations for this group."
With the ninth win to start his coaching career, Bohannon tied former Alabama coach Wallace Wade, who went 9-0 in 1924, for the second-best start to a coaching career in program history. Kid Peeples holds the record when he led Alabama to a 10-0 start back in 1897.
Alabama’s pitching was fantastic in the win. It allowed just four hits, while striking out 10 Hornets. Starter Mason Duke led the way, striking out seven himself.
“I just tried to get on the mound and throw as many strikes as I could,” Duke said. “I was just trying to build on last outing. Just staying in the strike zone, making them try to hit the ball."
Duke finished with the win, throwing five shutout innings. Only one runner reached base while he was on the mound. He retired the last 11 batters he faced.
Davis Vainer threw 2 1/3 out of the bullpen. He came in during the top of the sixth inning with two outs and two runners on base. He retired the first batter he faced, while only throwing one pitch. He struck out three batters and allowed two hits.
Hunter Alexander started the scoring in the second inning. He singled past the Alabama State second baseman, driving in two runs. He finished with a game-high three hits, finishing 3-of-4.
Alabama’s offense came on late, just like it did on Tuesday. It scored seven of its 11 runs in the seventh and eighth innings.
Alabama scored four runs in the seventh inning. The big hit came off Cody Henry’s bat. With bases loaded, Henry doubled to right field, scoring two. Walker McCleney, who came in to pinch hit, singled in a run. Matt Malkin later flew out, driving in the final run of the inning.
Chandler Avant, McCleney and Malkin all finished with two hits. Malkin and McCleney also finished with two RBIs.
Alabama finished with 14 hits in the game. It has now surpassed 10 hits in seven of its nine games this season. The only two games it missed double digits were Middle Tennessee and the second game against Valparaiso. Both times the Crimson Tide finished with eight hits.
Alabama travels to Norman, Oklahoma to take on Oklahoma in a three-game series.