Touch 'Em All: Jackson Tate fills in well, Alabama baseball wins series at College of Charleston

Brett Hudson
The Tuscaloosa News

For the first time this season, the Alabama baseball team found itself in a deciding game three of a weekend series, an occasion it met with 20 hits, 11 walks and an easy 21-3 win at College of Charleston. That Sunday game followed UA’s 8-0 win on Friday and 1-0 loss on Saturday after Wednesday’s 9-1 win over Troy.

Here are four takeaways from UA’s week, the penultimate week of its non-conference schedule.

Tate for T.J.

The series in Charleston was the beginning of a weeks-long absence for outfielder T.J. Reeves, who injured his hand during a slide in Wednesday’s game and required surgery, The Tuscaloosa News learned through multiple sources before the series.

Jackson Tate was the one in left field for the entire series in his place, largely because his production made it unfathomable to take him out of the lineup. Tate went 2-for-4 with a RBI on  Friday, then 2-for-3 with a double and a walk Saturday. Two more hits Sunday bumped Tate’s season batting average to .375.

Starting pitching stays strong

Tyler Ras, in the unenviable position of replacing Connor Prielipp for the second consecutive week, once again rose to the occasion with six innings of scoreless, three-hit pitching on Friday. Dylan Smith was even better on Saturday, throwing seven innings with four hits allowed and 10 strikeouts, even though the solo home run he allowed was the only run of a 1-0 loss.

On Sunday, Antoine Jean turned in five scoreless innings, allowing three hits and two walks.

In its nine weekend games this season, Alabama starting pitchers have allowed 26 hits and 15 walks in a combined 47 innings for a 0.872 WHIP (walks and hits allowed per innings pitched), featuring 54 strikeouts and a 1.15 ERA (earned run average).

Ten-run inning made history

The 21-3 win Sunday was, as the final score suggests, completely lacking drama, especially after UA scored 10 runs in the third inning. It was UA’s first 10-run inning since doing it against UAB on Feb. 28, 2007.

An error and a wild pitch brought in the first two runs, but designated hitter Owen Diodati dealt a critical blow with a grand slam, his second of the season. Five plate appearances later, Sam Praytor cleared loaded bases with a double and Drew Williamson scored him with a single two pitches later.

Power from the first pitch

Peyton Wilson has the contact skills to be a fitting leadoff hitter, evidenced by eight hits in his last seven games. Lately, he’s proven to be more deadly.

Wilson hit two more home runs this week, one against Troy on Wednesday and another Friday against Charleston. It pushed his season total to five, making him the team leader and tied for second in the SEC entering Sunday.

Reach Brett Hudson at 205-722-0196 or bhudson@tuscaloosanews.com or via Twitter, @Brett_Hudson