The first inning was a breeze for Alabama. The next eight were a blur.
Alabama took a 4-0 lead in the bottom of the first inning against Troy and finished with a 4-3 win after an eighth-inning rally from the Trojans. The win snapped a three-game losing streak for Alabama (23-20, 5-13 SEC) and a five-game winning streak for Troy (28-13, 11-7 Sun Belt).
“That’s a good win for us,” coach Brad Bohannon said. “Obviously it wasn’t perfect, but after a tough weekend I was really proud of our kids that we started so hot. We didn’t adjust to their soft lefty well, but overall we pitched several guys that did a good job out of the pen. … A lot of positives tonight.”
Alabama hit Troy starter Sadler Goodwin hard in the first. Cobie Vance led off with a double, followed by a walk from Joe Breaux and a three-run homer from Chandler Avant all before Troy had retired a batter. Keith Holcombe singled and later scored on a hit from Jett Manning for the fourth run.
Avant’s homer was his third of the year. He now has 36 RBIs to lead the team. Bohannon had called for a hit-and-run when he connected with the fastball.
“I was just trying to hit something hard and it worked out in my favor,” he said.
It was a good showing coming off a weekend sweep against Auburn, but that momentum didn’t leave the first frame. Troy pulled Goodwin and replaced him with lefty Max Newton, who gave up one hit and one walk in the next four innings. Alabama finished with eight total hits on the night.
“Once you get into league play, you see so much velocity and so much hard secondary stuff that I think a pitcher like that is more effective in late April, early May than maybe he is early in the year,” Bohannon said. “I was disappointed that we allowed him to continue to get us out the same way. I think what’s you’re up 4-0, 4-1, college kids have a harder time focusing than when the game is tied. Probably a combination of all that, and also give him credit. He did a great job of throwing three pitches for strikes.”
Troy got one run back in the top of the second, then scored two more in the top of the eighth. The Trojans had the tying run on base in both the eighth and ninth innings but couldn’t complete the rally.
Sophomore Brock Love started and threw one inning in his first appearance since March 18. Six different relievers followed, none of whom pitched more than two innings. Love had been sitting out with some lingering issues after his elbow surgery from last season.
“One of those things where it takes longer to heal for some people than others,” he said.
Sophomore Kyle Cameron got Alabama out of the jam in the eighth inning. Praytor made the final out of the game on a pickoff play to first to seal the win and earn Cameron’s first career save.
Reach Ben Jones at email@example.com or 205-722-0196.