Texas A&M drew first blood against Alabama. Then the Aggies carved up the Crimson Tide 8-2 on Friday night to clinch its weekend series.
Leadoff hitter Nick Choruby singled to start the night and came around to score. A three-run home run in the third inning was part of a four-run rally to make the lead 5-0. Alabama (14-21, 2-12 SEC) didn’t get its first run on the board until the bottom of the sixth. Texas A&M (25-11, 7-7 SEC) led 7-1 at that point with the game all but decided.
“I just thought they came out and just beat us tonight,” head coach Greg Goff said.
The loss clinched the series for Texas A&M. Alabama has lost each of its first five SEC series; each of the final five conference series are against an opponent ranked in the top 25 in at least one poll.
Sophomore lefty Dylan Duarte retired the side in the second inning, but Texas A&M’s offense kept steady pressure on the Crimson Tide otherwise. Texas A&M had 14 hits and drew four walks, reaching base in eight of nine innings. Alabama never matched that and only had three runners in scoring position all night.
Texas A&M starter Corbin Martin threw seven innings and gave up one run on four hits and two walks.
“He had command of all his pitches,” second baseman Cobie Vance said. “He mixed well. There were a couple times when it would be a plus-count for a hitter and he’d flip a slider in there and get us out front. I think he did a good job of mixing well.”
Junior Hunter Alexander, who had started all 34 games of the season before Friday night, missed the game with a finger injury. He injured it diving back to first base on Thursday night. There was no immediate timetable for his return.
“I hate it for him,” Goff said. “I hate it for our team. The guy is being aggressive, goes back to the bag and pops his finger.”
Alexander has been a steady bat in the Alabama offense. He leads the team with 25 RBIs and was batting .298. He’s the second regular in the Alabama lineup to be lost to injury in less than a week; center fielder Gene Wood injured his knee in the series final against Ole Miss on Sunday.
Texas A&M designated hitter Cole Bedford did damage to Alabama all night, going 4-5 with a homer, double and three RBIs. Vance paced the Alabama offense, going 2-4 with a double and an RBI. Freshman Walker McCleney, starting in center in place of Wood, was 1-3 with a run.
Texas A&M jumped out to a big lead for the second straight night, but unlike Thursday, there was no comeback in the Crimson Tide.
“Any time you’re not playing well, and guys get out there and get out in front of you, it’s catch-up every time,” Goff said. “We’re always playing catch-up. We just have to continue to get better.”
Reach Ben Jones at email@example.com or 205-722-0196.