An early spark was all Alabama needed to take care of Troy on Tuesday. The Crimson Tide plated four in the first inning, before defeating the Trojans 4-3. The win moves Alabama’s record to 23-20 on the season. Alabama came out fast. Cobie Vance started the bottom of the first with a double to left-center field, followed by a Joe Breaux walk. Chandler Avant saw just one pitch before he lined a fastball over the left field fence, for his third home run of the season.
Donned in a black suit and an Alabama tie, Alabama’s 32nd head baseball coach faced the media for the first time. His opening statement on June 5, 2017 was simple. “I have been waiting all week to get up here to say ‘Roll Tide, baby,’” Brad Bohannon said.
Alabama was riding high after taking the lead on a double by Hunter Alexander in the bottom of the fourth inning. It then proceeded to allow 16 straight runs over the next three innings, losing to No. 25 Auburn 19-5. “I just told the team ‘we can’t let one loss turn into two,’” coach Brad Bohannon said. “We can’t bring this to the park tomorrow. Hopefully, we can put nine innings together like we did the first four tonight.”
Alabama coach Brad Bohannon said Tuesday’s loss was the lowest amount of effort the team had showed through the season. The team responded with a 3-0 win over Alcorn State.
When coach Brad Bohannon arrived at the Capstone, he knew he would have an experienced infield, but he had to make some changes to make room for starting shortstop Jett Manning’s glove. He moved Chandler Avant to second, placing Cobie Vance, who had been the starting second baseman for the last two years. To someone who isn’t around the team very much, the transition has been seamless. He has made a couple of highlight reel plays look routine.
Coming into Tuesday’s game against UAB, Matt Malkin had knocked in six runs through the 18 games he had played this year. He didn’t have a problem knocking in his teammates as he accounted for six of Alabama’s 12 runs in its 12-3 win over UAB. He sprayed the ball around the entire field, recording an extra-base hit to all three outfield spots. He finished 3-for-4 with a home run, two doubles and a walk.
The McCleney name is easily recognizable in the state of Alabama, especially in Tuscaloosa and Birmingham. John McCleney played center field for Samford’s baseball team in the late 1980’s and early 90’s and Haylie McCleney was one of the best softball players to ever play at Alabama, finishing as a four-time All-American with the highest batting average, on-base percentage and most walks in program history, while finishing in the top five in several other categories. Both players played center field, just as Walker McCleney does for the Alabama baseball team.