Alabama’s offense led the way to help sweep Washington State in a baseball doubleheader on Friday night at Sewell-Thomas Stadium. The Crimson Tide won the first game 12-4, then clinched the series with an 8-2 win in the second game.
It’s the best start for Alabama since the Crimson Tide’s 6-0 mark in 2013. The last time Alabama had a longer winning streak to start a season was in 2010, when coach Mitch Gaspard began his first season 8-0.
“There was a lot of hard contact today,” coach Brad Bohannon said. “I felt good about the group going into the season. … Having an older group of position players, you have guys that aren’t trying to do too much. We have depth, we have some length to our lineup and some balance, and they’ve done a great job to this point.”
Eight starters had a hit in the first game; the ninth was center fielder Joe Breaux. He set a school record by drawing five walks in his five plate appearances. Eight starters had a hit in the second game as well.
Solid pitching also helped the Crimson Tide. Starter Sam Finnerty threw 5 2/3 while allowing four runs in the first game. The bullpen didn’t allow a run in the final 3 1/3.
Senior righty Jake Walters put Alabama on solid footing with six innings of work in the second game. He gave up a two-run homer in the top of the first inning, but had just one walk, one hit, and one hit batter over the next five innings. He threw 91 pitches and struck out seven.
“I kind of realized what was working and what wasn’t,” he said. “The fastball was working on both sides of the plate. In the first inning I was trying to throw a couple more pitches and the stuff just wasn’t there.”
Washington State took a 2-0 lead in the top of the third during the first game on a home run by James Rudkin. Alabama took the lead in the bottom of the fourth with a three-run burst and pulled away with six more runs in the fifth.
Right fielder Chandler Taylor led the way by going 4-for-9 with a home run, a triple and five RBIs combined. First baseman Hunter Alexander was 4-for-9 with two doubles and two RBIs.
The Alabama offense has scored 58 runs in its first six games this season. Last year, it took 12 games to reach that mark.
“We’re just playing free and having fun,” Alexander said. “It’s not like we have pressure on every game we play. We’re going to lose eventually, because it’s a long season. We’re just playing free.”
Alabama can complete the sweep with a win Saturday.
“I hope it gives our team some confidence,” Bohannon said. “I think they have a solid club. There’s no telling what could happen tomorrow, so you don’t want to make any rash, huge statements off of one day. We’ve got a lot of good players. Today was our day and we played really well and won two games. We have to come out and do it again tomorrow.”
Reach Ben Jones at firstname.lastname@example.org or 205-722-0196.