The Alabama baseball team went into overtime in its Southeastern Conference opener against Georgia on Friday night but there was no quick ending, unlike the previous more-than-regulation meeting between the schools in the College Football Playoff.
But even without a Tua Tagovailoa-style home run, the Crimson Tide again found a way to win.
With two outs in the bottom of the 13th inning, Alabama center fielder Joe Breaux hit a ground ball in the perfect place, just beyond the reach of a diving Georgia third baseman and into the outfield for an RBI single that gave UA a dramatic 10-9 victory in its Southeastern Conference opener.
Alabama rallied from deficits of 5-0 and 8-4 to take the win in the five-hour contest.
“It was such a relief,” Breaux said of his winning hit, which scored Cobie Vance from third base. “When things like that happen after the things we had been through in the game, it lifts the whole team.”
Georgia took advantage of two Alabama errors on a rain-slick field in the first inning, scoring five runs, only one of which was earned. The Bulldogs also had five hits in the inning, including RBI singles by Adam Sasser and Mason Meadows.
The Crimson Tide answered with a solo home run by Chandler Taylor, his seventh homer of the year, to make it 5-1 in the bottom of the inning. Georgia added a single run in the top of the fifth to go up 6-1, but UA responded with three runs in the bottom of the inning. The rally was highlighted by a two-run single by shortstop Jett Manning.
Bulldog left fielder Keegan McGovern hit a two-run home run, his seventh of the season, to push the Georgia lead to 8-4 in the sixth.
Alabama took the lead for the first time with five runs in the seventh inning, highlighted by Chandler Avant’s two-run, bases-loaded single. The Crimson Tide also capitalized on two hit batsman and a Georgia error on a dropped foul ball to take its first lead, 9-8.
The Bulldogs then tied the game with an unearned run in the eighth inning.
Alabama had a chance to break the tie in the 10th inning but left the bases loaded.
The Crimson Tide got strong relief pitching from Sam Gardner, Deacon Medders and Dylan Duarte. Medders pitched three innings along just a single unearned run, while Duarte held the Bulldogs scoreless in the 11th, 12th and 13th innings, earning the win to raise his record to 2-0. Zac Kristofak (1-1) took the loss for Georgia.
LJ Talley, the Georgia second baseman, had four hits in the game. Vance and shortstop Jett Manning each had three hits for the Crimson Tide (16-3, 1-0 SEC).
The two teams will continue the series on Saturday at 1 p.m.
Reach Cecil Hurt at email@example.com or 205-722-0225.