The end of Alabama’s doubleheader against New Mexico State came seven hours and 40 minutes after it began. There was no time for the Crimson Tide to ease up against the Aggies.
The first game was a grinding 3-0 loss in which Alabama (12-3) couldn’t find any offense. The second was a 3-1 win that ended with the potential tying run on first base.
“I thought we hung in there,” Alabama starter Jake Walters said. “Our focus got a lot better as the game went along.”
New Mexico State starter Kyle Bradish kept Alabama off balance early in the second game. He only gave up two hits in 5 1/3 innings pitched, but walked four and hit one.
It was Walters that kept pace with Bradish. He threw 5 1/3 innings and allowed one run on four hits and five walks.
“Going in, the mindset was to throw more over the plate, because I’ve been pitching away from contact my whole career,” Walters said. “The adjustment today didn’t work out as I wanted early. I was trying to be too fine in with the outside corner. Until later on, I feel like I started going down the middle. I got lucky. We were in some tough situations and the defense played great. Sometimes I look back and wonder how the score was so small.”
Alabama broke through against Bradish in the bottom of the fourth when Hunter Alexander drew a leadoff walk. He went to second on a single from Chandler Taylor. A wild pitch moved him to third, then another wild pitch brought him home. Keith Holcombe singled to score Taylor.
Alabama got an insurance run in the seventh after Walker McCleney reached on a fielder’s choice. He advanced to second on a ground ball from second baseman Cobie Vance and scored on a single from Cody Henry.
“We put on a hit and run when Cobie Vance was up to bat and Walker was on first,” coach Brad Bohannon said. “The pitch was way out of the zone and Cobie did a great job of putting the ball in play. It was really soft contact to the pitcher. We got a runner in scoring position, protected Walker and then Cody got the big hit. Anybody with experience in baseball will tell you what a difference there is between a one-run game and a two-run game.”
ACA product Deacon Medders pitched the final three innings to pick up the save.
The 3-0 loss in the first game ended Alabama’s nine-game win streak at Sewell-Thomas Stadium. It was the first time the Crimson Tide was shut out this season. New Mexico State starter Justin Dehn threw 7 2/3 innings while allowing four hits and two walks. He and Alabama starter Sam Finnerty traded zeroes until the seventh inning, when Finnerty gave up a pair of runs. Finnerty threw 6 1/3 innings and struck out five. Sophomore Kyle Cameron threw the final 2 2/3 innings and allowed one run.
Alabama had just two runners on second base and one reach third base in the first game.
“The first six innings of the first game offensively, I didn’t think our at bats were very good,” Bohannon said. “I didn’t think we were very focused. Once New Mexico State put the two runs up in the seventh, I thought the last three innings we competed and focused really well. We just didn’t get enough hits, make enough plays.”
Reach Ben Jones at email@example.com or 205-722-0196.