The University of Alabama baseball team finished the first weekend series under coach Brad Bohannon in fine fashion, wrapping up a three-game sweep of Valparaiso with a 12-6 win on Sunday. And Sunday’s win, Bohannon said, in spite of one of his cardinal rules.
“Keith (Holcombe) has made it hard on me with the rest of the guys,” Bohannon said jokingly in his post-game press conference. “I keep preaching to them about how important practice is and he comes out, practices a couple of weeks and almost hits for the cycle.”
Holcombe, the Alabama left fielder in the spring and linebacker in the fall, finished 4-for-4 on Sunday with two singles, a triple and a home run.
“I was just excited to be out there,” said Holcombe, the former Hillcrest star “Like you heard me say in football, I was just out there to do my job.”
Holcombe was the highlight but Alabama got consistent hitting through the lineup and solid relief pitching from Davis Vanier, who earned the decision, and freshman Blake Guffey, who recorded the final five outs and picked up his first career save.
“One of the big stories for me this weekend was our bullpen,” Bohannon said. “Over the last two days, all three guys we have used have come in and pounded the strike zone and if we can continue to do that, that will be very important for us.”
The Crimson Tide started quickly with a four-run first inning that featured an RBI double by right fielder Joe Breaux and an RBI triple by Holcombe. Valparaiso had a quick response, scoring five times in the top of the second against Alabama starter Sam Gardner to take a 5-4 lead.
UA tied the game on Breaux’s second RBI double in the bottom of the second, then went ahead for good with a three-run rally in the bottom of the third, highlighted by Walker McCleney’s two-run double.
Holcombe slugged a solo home run in the sixth inning and added a single as Alabama closed out with three runs in the bottom of the eighth inning.
Crimson Tide catcher Sam Praytor had three hits in five at-bats.
Alabama (3-0) will play again on Tuesday, hosting Middle Tennessee State.
Reach Cecil Hurt at firstname.lastname@example.org or 205-722-0225.