BIRMINGHAM – A season-high 19 hits, including nine home runs, powered Alabama baseball to a 21-2 victory over Samford on Tuesday night at Joe Lee Griffin Stadium. The Crimson Tide’s midweek win improves UA’s overall record to 23-11.
“It was just one of those nights, and luckily it was a good night for us,” said Alabama head coach Brad Bohannon. “The park played really offensive – which this place can at times – but they didn’t move the fences up for us when we were up to bat. Our pitchers did a good job of getting some soft contact, and I’m obviously really proud of our players for hitting a lot of balls hard up and down the lineup.”
Of Alabama’s 19 hits, 13 were for extra bases. The Tide notched nine home runs, three doubles and a triple on the way to 21 runs. Everyone got in on the offensive show with 11 players recording at least one hit. Seven of those players contributed to the Crimson Tide’s nine homers, the most in a single game since UA’s 13 against UAB on April 14, 1999.
Freshman T.J. Reeves and junior Tyler Gentry each homered twice. Joining them with homers were juniors Brett Auerbach, Johnny Hawk and Morgan McCullough along with freshmen Tyler Ras and Drew Williamson. Williamson led the Tide in hits with a perfect 3-for-3 night that saw him fall a double short of the cycle. He added a team-high tying three runs scored to go with his two RBI and walk. Matching Williamson with three runs was Gentry. The duo of Reeves and Auerbach tied for the team-lead in RBI with four to cap off the huge scoring night.
Alabama gained an early advantage with one run in the first. Keith Holcombe sent a single to right-center to put the leadoff man aboard. A walk moved the senior into scoring position before an RBI-single from Williamson crossed the game’s first run, making it 1-0 after the first inning of play.
Then the Tide opened the flood gates. A record-setting third inning saw Alabama score 13 runs on 11 hits, two walks and a hit-by-pitch. The 11 hits set a new record for an inning, highlighted by the Crimson Tide’s program-record five home runs in the frame to go with three doubles and a triple. Following a flyout to start the inning, Reeves, McCullough and Gentry homered in back-to-back-to-back at-bats, the first time UA had done so since April 27, 2008, against Auburn.
The three home runs kickstarted a stretch of nine straight hits to set a record for consecutive hits in an inning, surpassing the previous total of eight. Things wrapped up at 14-0 through three frames following the 13-run inning. Those 13 runs were the most in a single inning by Alabama since the Tide’s 14 against Louisiana Tech on Feb. 24, 1999. The Crimson Tide finished the third with 31 total bases for a new program record, surpassing the mark of 23 from the March 7, 1999, contest against Niagara.
Alabama’s scoring continued in the fifth. Another homer from Gentry followed immediately by a solo shot from Williamson added the first two. Pinch-hitter Gene Wood, a redshirt junior, then singled with two down and one on to bring in the Tide’s third run and make it a 17-0 game. A two-run homer by Ras in the sixth added a pair. The Tide wasn’t done, though, with Hawk bringing in two on his home run to left for a 21-run Alabama lead.
Samford got on the board in the home half of the sixth with one run, making it a 21-1 contest after six full. The Bulldogs were able to add one more in the bottom of the ninth to set the score at 22-2, the eventual final.
Not to be overshadowed on Tuesday was the strong performance on the mound by the Alabama pitchers. Garret Rukes (2-0) earned his second win of the season with 3.0 innings of one-hit baseball. The redshirt sophomore issued one walk and struck out one before handing it over to the bullpen. UA went on to use four more pitchers, with the group allowing two runs – only one earned – over the final 6.0 frames to seal the victory on Tuesday.
Alabama will now travel to Starkville for a weekend series against fifth-ranked Mississippi State. The Tide and Bulldogs are slated for a 6:30 p.m. CT first pitch on Friday followed by a pair of 3 p.m. starts on both Saturday and Sunday. Fans can watch the first two games on SEC Network+ with the series finale airing nationally on SEC Network.