Alabama baseball will carry its win streak into SEC play. The Crimson Tide (16-2) beat Middle Tennessee State (5-11) 2-0 on Tuesday night at Sewell-Thomas Stadium with one key at-bat to support strong pitching and defense on the night.
First baseman Drew Williamson drove home John Trousdale and Keith Holcombe in the bottom of the sixth to secure the win. Five different pitchers combined to give up six hits and two hit batters, but didn’t allow a walk. Alabama had no errors, wild pitches or passed balls.
“I was really concerned coming into tonight,” coach Brad Bohannon said. “Everybody is excited about SEC play and I know the kids are fired up to go to Ole Miss this weekend. Everybody wants to see what we can do against a ranked opponent. Having been in the league, this being the 16th year, you’ve seen SEC teams lose going into league play and certainly the midweek after league play starts. I was really glad to see us play a really clean game. We didn’t walk a batter and we didn’t make an error. It’s tough for the other team to score when you do that. Was really proud of the focus throughout the lineup today.”
Alabama has now won 12 straight games, the longest winning streak for the program since it won 16 straight in 1999.
Freshman righty Tyler Ras started the game and threw three innings, allowing three hits. Right hander Dylan Smith threw the fourth and fifth, allowing one hit. Junior Davis Vainer, who earned the win, threw the sixth and seventh and didn’t allow a base runner. Kyle Cameron pitched the eighth and closer Jeremy Randolph earned his third save of the season in the ninth inning.
“It’s one of those nights where it’s a pitchers’ duel,” Vainer said. “When it’s your time to go out there, just try to fill up the strike zone and just compete. Nights like that, obviously with Oxford coming up this weekend, it’s easy to kind of not be focused. I’m really proud of how we went out there and stayed focused through all nine innings.”
Middle Tennessee State didn’t have a runner in scoring position in the final five innings. Alabama pitchers combined to throw 89 strikes on 121 pitches.
Alabama had runners in scoring position in the second, third and fourth inning but couldn’t push a run across. Williamson came to the plate with one out and runners on second and third after a single from Holcombe and a double from Trousdale in the sixth.
“I just had to get up there and do my job, try to score the runs,” Williamson said. “I was looking to get a fastball early in the count and missed a good pitch early to hit. But, happened to stay on a changeup long enough to get it through the hole and get the job done.”
MTSU starting pitcher Drew Huff also hit third for the Blue Raiders. He threw two no-hit innings, then stayed in the game as the DH. He fell to the ground during a swing-and-miss in the top of the sixth and grabbed his knee. Huff tried to hobble off, but MTSU pitching coach Kyle Bunn eventually had to carry him into the dugout.
Alabama had been in two games decided by one run before Tuesday night. This was the first game decided by two runs so far this season.
“We want a little pressure on before all the pressure is piled on this weekend,” Williamson said.
Reach Ben Jones at firstname.lastname@example.org or 205-722-0196.