Alabama Baseball Destroys Arkansas in SEC Opener
The No. 22 Alabama Crimson Tide brought the bats to Fayetteville Friday night demolishing No. 1 Arkansas 16-1 in the first game of the series to open SEC play.
Alabama jumped on the Hogs early, posting a 10-run second inning capped off by an Owen Diodati two-run blast. Diodati lead off the inning with a walk, and then Alabama began to string together timely hits. Jim Jarvis, Drew Williamson, Sam Praytor, and Zane Denton added RBIs in the inning with the Tide totalling eight hits. Arkansas's pitching struggled, walking in two of the second inning runs.
Starting pitcher Tyler Ras was masterful. He was able to finish six full innings while only totaling 83 pitches. Ras was able to pitch free and easy because of the huge lead his offense gave him early on. Being up 10-0 in the second inning has got to be a pitcher's best friend. The one run he did allow came on a homer in the bottom of the second, but he shut Arkansas down after that point.
Junior Connor Shamblin came in to relieve Ras, and he did not spoil the sweet start. Having the veteran to come out of the bullpen in an important SEC opener was essential for Alabama, as bullpen issues have plagued the team so far this young season.
The Alabama outfielders were unbelievable at the plate. Caden Rose added a solo shot, his second of the season, in the top of the seventh to make the score 11-1 as Ras left the mound. Diodati came in clutch once again with a two-RBI single in the top of the eighth, and Redshirt freshman Andrew Pinckney poured onto the lead with his first collegiate home run scoring Dio and making it 15-1.
Still, the offense was not done. Jackson Tate added his first home run of the season, a solo homer, in the top of the ninth to give us the final score of 16-1.
This was obviously a massive win for the Crimson Tide and has to boost their confidence moving through the stout SEC schedule. They proved they can compete with, and dominate for that matter, the best opponents in the country. Most of the starters got their first taste of SEC baseball, and they proved themselves.
Coach Brad Bohannon has to be happy that his guys finally put together a full nine innings in their most important game so far. Alabama strung together hits and had strong outings from Ras and Shamblin.
Not much more could be asked of the Crimson Tide in game one of SEC play. They will have the opportunity to win the series with Arkansas on Saturday at 6:30 p.m. CT with strong starter Dylan Smith on the mound.