TUSCALOOSA, Ala. — Back-to-back three-run innings in the fourth and fifth were the cause for celebration inside Sewell-Thomas Stadium on Friday night as Alabama baseball defeated No. 9 Tennessee 7-4.
The win snaps a six-game losing streak for the Crimson Tide, with their most-recent victory happening all the way back on March 19 at No. 1 Arkansas.
“I told the kids after the game that it wasn’t a walk-off but I think that was by far our best game of the year for a lot of reasons,” Alabama head coach Brad Bohannon said. "This group typically in the middle of the game will give some at-bats away and we didn’t do that tonight. We were able to get into the bullpen in the fourth inning and score six runs in two innings which was huge for this group.
"Just really, really proud of the effort and thought it was our best effort of the year.”
The Volunteers jumped out to a 4-0 lead with a solo home run in the top of the second by first baseman Luc Lipcius and then three more runs in the third.
The Crimson Tide bats remained relatively quiet until the bottom of the fourth when Alabama first baseman Drew Williamson was grazed on the foot by a pitch with the bases loaded. One out later, shortstop Jim Jarvis reached first on a fielder's choice, scoring Will Hamiter. Second baseman Peyton Wilson singled to the right side, scoring Reeves for the third run of the inning.
In the fifth, redshirt-sophomore catcher Sam Praytor hit a ball 376 feet over the right-field wall and into the Volunteers bullpen for a two-run, go-ahead home run. One out later, Williamson picked up another RBI with a sac-fly to the left-center field wall, bringing designated hitter Will Hamiter home for the team's sixth run.
In the bottom of the seventh with one out, Williamson crushed a solo home run into the Right Field Ragers for one final run and putting the final exclamation point on the Crimson Tide's first win in two weeks.
“Drew was really good and the home run was a nice insurance run but I thought one of the at-bats of the game was the sac-fly he gave us,” Bohannon said. “He got behind in the count two strikes and fouled off some tough pitches and then got a big sac-fly which we really needed at the time."
Junior right-handed pitcher Tyler Ras started on the mound for Alabama and gave up Tennessee's four runs. Following the fifth, Ras was replaced with redshirt-senior Will Freeman, who pitched one inning against Tennessee without allowing a hit.
The pitching story of the night, however, was redshirt-sophomore Landon Green. Green entered the game in the seventh and retired all but one batter faced. Green finished the game with the one walk and three strikeouts through two innings pitched.
Junior Chase Lee closed out the game in the ninth, and struck out three of five batters faced to end the game.
"[Tyler Ras] has just been awesome for us and he wasn’t quite as sharp as he has been," Bohannon said. "To his credit he gave up the one and the three and then he put up two zeros — put up a zero in the fourth, gave us a chance to close the gap, put up a zero in the fifth and then gave us the chance to take the lead. I thought that was huge and obviously Freeman and Landon did a great job of getting to Chase and we scored seven unanswered."
Ras (4-1) picked up with win while Lee (2) was credited with the save. Tennessee reliever Sean Hunley (4-1) was saddled with the loss.
The Crimson Tide moves to 16-9 on the season with the win while the Volunteers are now 22-5 with the loss.
Alabama and Tennessee will continues its Easter-weekend series on Saturday evening (6 p.m. CT, SEC Network).