There was no waiting for the first highlight of Alabama baseball’s season. Leadoff hitter Joe Breaux doubled over the head of Presbyterian’s center fielder on the first pitch of Alabama’s first at bat.
Later that inning, sophomore catcher Sam Praytor homered to left to give the Crimson Tide a 2-0 lead. Alabama (1-0) never trailed as it went on to a 7-2 win over Presbyterian (0-1) on opening day at Sewell-Thomas Stadium.
“Me and Coach Bo have actually been talking about me finding my pitch to hit,” Praytor said. “That’s all I was really thinking about my first at-bat. I was lucky enough to work it back to a fastball count and he threw it and I swung as hard as I could.”
All of Alabama’s scoring came in the first four innings. Three different players each drove in one run in the bottom of the second before the Crimson Tide plated one run in the third and fourth.
“It always takes the edge off when you score in the first,” coach Brad Bohannon said.
Presbyterian scored in the fourth and fifth, but starting pitcher Sam Finnerty limited the damage both times. He threw 74 pitches across five innings with three strikeouts. He gave up eight hits and one walk but worked around trouble. Presbyterian put the leadoff man aboard in four of the first five innings, but Finnerty clamped down.
Junior college transfer Wil Freeman pitched three scoreless innings out of the bullpen. Freshman righty Chase Lee pitched a clean ninth to finish it off.
“Really well-rounded game for us,” Bohannon said. “All the guys that pitched were around the strike zone. We played really good defense and had two beautiful double plays behind them. Obviously we had a lot of hard contact throughout the lineup and had five guys drive in runs. Just really pleased. Good starting point for us.”
Breaux led the Alabama offense, going 3 for 5 in the leadoff spot. Praytor was 2 for 4 with two RBIs and junior shortstop Kolby Robinson was 3 for 4 with two RBIs. Seven Alabama players registered hits and eight players reached base; six reached base twice or more.
“I was really happy to see production throughout the lineup,” Bohannon said. “Every team has two or three guys in the middle that are going to drive in some runs, but I thought we had a lot of hard contact 1-9. Even Kolby down in the nine hole got three hits. If that’s something we can keep up, it’s going to be a good year.”
Alabama will conclude the series against Presbyterian with a doubleheader on Saturday at Sewell-Thomas Stadium. The first game will begin at 1:00 p.m. with the second game starting 45 minutes after the first game concludes.
Reach Ben Jones at email@example.com or 205-722-0196.