Alabama’s first walk-off win of the season came in the 14th inning of the season’s 14th game.
Senior outfield Joe Breaux led off the bottom of the 14th with a double, then came home on a one-out single by Tyler Gentry to give Alabama (12-2) a 5-4 win over South Dakota State (5-6). Alabama entered the ninth inning with a 4-1 lead before the Jackrabbits tied the game to send it to extras.
Alabama then burned closer Jeremy Randolph to finish the ninth and throw a season-high 3 1/3 innings. Junior Kyle Cameron pitched the 13th and 14th innings and kept South Dakota State off the board until the offense came through.
“First thing, give tremendous credit to South Dakota State,” coach Brad Bohannon said. “I really thought they outcompeted us and they showed a lot more resiliency than we did. With that said, there’s still some positives. What Kyle Cameron and Jeremy Randolph did out of the bullpen was just awesome. We continue to play good defense. We were able to get some young arms in there that showed some good signs. But, really disappointed with the way we executed offensively. That just has to get better in a hurry.”
There were chances to end the game earlier. Alabama had a runner on third with one out in the bottom of the 11th, but the runner was called out at the plate on a squeeze bunt. Alabama had runners on first and second with no outs in the 12th, but a double play and a strikeout ended the inning. The leadoff hitter in the 13th was hit by a pitch and moved to second on a single with one out. That inning ended with another double play.
Breaux was ready for things to end when he reached second to start the 14th.
“I was pumped,” he said. “I was like ‘Let’s go.’ I was excited.”
Gentry, who had grounded into the double play in the 12th, knocked a breaking ball to left field. That ended the game at four hours and 18 minutes. It was the longest nonconference game in school history and ninth-longest overall by time.
Alabama held a 4-1 lead over UAB on Tuesday before hanging on to win 4-3. Alabama was 4-18 with runners in scoring position on Wednesday and 2-12 on Tuesday.
“That’s what we talked about before the game,” Bohannon said. “I don’t have another way to say it: We have to get better. As the quality of the opponent gets better, you don’t always have the chance to put up a crooked number against an SEC weekend starter. Sometimes it’s the first inning or the fourth when you have multiple guys on base with less than two outs, and that’s your time to get to that guy. You’re not going to have three or four times throughout the game for that to happen.”
Alabama started with two runs in the first inning and had a 4-1 lead after five innings before things cooled down. Gentry finished 3-7 with two RBIs to lead the offense. Breaux was 2-7, while second baseman Morgan McCullough was 3-5 with a triple and two walks.
Freshman pitcher Tyler Ras started and threw four shutout innings. He was one of four true freshman pitchers in the game.
Reach Ben Jones at firstname.lastname@example.org or 205-722-0196.