TUSCALOOSA, Ala. — In a doubleheader that was thrown together on Friday due to poor weather being slated for Sunday, No. 22 Alabama baseball completed a weekend sweep of Wright State, winning both games on Saturday at Sewell-Thomas Stadium.
The Crimson Tide also did so in very different ways.
After trailing by two as late as the eighth inning, Alabama rallied past Wright State 8-7 in the 11th inning of the opener.
It won the second game 1-0.
"In the first game ... we looked like we had a bunch of young guys on the field," Alabama coach Brad Bohannon said. "You look up and they score three runs and they hit one ground ball that bounced about six times and got through the infield, and they got three runs off of that.
"But, with that being said, we found a way to win a game late."
Alabama leaped out to an early 2-0 lead in the first inning when redshirt-sophomore catcher Sam Praytor grounded into a fielder's choice, resulting in sophomore second baseman Peyton Wilson crossing the plate. A single by sophomore third baseman Zane Denton one out later scored sophomore right fielder Owen Diodati.
In the third, sophomore left fielder Will Hamiter singled to right-center with the bases loaded, scoring two more runs for the Crimson Tide.
Alabama starting pitcher Antoine Jean held the Raiders to no runs and just one hit through the first three innings. However, his impressive start was overshadowed by rallies in the fourth and fifth.
Combined, Wright State added five runs to the board over the two innings, to jump ahead of Alabama 5-4. The Crimson Tide added a run in the bottom of the fifth due to a wild pitch that saw Praytor advance home from third.
Jean was removed with one out left in the fifth, replaced by Jacob McNairy. He gave up five runs off of four hits, and walked three and struck out five while not figuring in the decision.
In the sixth, Raiders center fielder Quincy Hamilton knocked a two-RBI double to right field, giving Wright State a 7-5 lead.
In the bottom of the eighth, Wilson came through for the Crimson Tide again, singling to left-center and scoring two runs for Alabama. Heading into the ninth, the game was tied at seven runs apiece.
"He can mishit a ball and get an infield single. He can hit a home run. He can steal a base. He can throw. So he's a really exciting offensive player," Bohannon said of Wilson. "You know, we just gotta close the gap of his defense."
After junior closer Chase Lee stepped onto the mound in the top of the ninth, the Crimson Tide exchanged nine quick outs with Wright State, setting the stage for Hamiter to deliver a walk-off single and propel Alabama to its second win of the weekend.
Lee (2-0) was credited with the win in relief. Wright State's Austin Cline (0-1) took the loss.
Starting pitchers Dylan Smith and Jake Schrand combined for 15 strikeouts and six hits allowed.
"It felt like an SEC game," Bohannon said, "You got two guys out there bumping 94-95 [mph], throwing three pitches for a strike."
Smith was credited with his first win of the season, allowing only one hit and no runs before being pulled with two outs in the sixth inning. He set a career-high for strikeouts with seven before being replaced by Crimson Tide teammate Landon Green.
"Coach Jackson just put the ball in my hands and let me ride," Smith said, "I just attacked every hitter I could."
It was a scoreless affair through five until an RBI-double by Praytor scored Drew Williamson in the bottom of the sixth, which ultimately ended Schrand's night. Sophomore right-hander Tristan Haught replaced him, then retired the Crimson Tide to head into the last inning down 1-0.
Green finished on the mound for the Crimson Tide and improved to 2-0 after allowing no runs, one hit, and recording one strikeout.
Alabama improved to 7-1 on the season and travels to UAB for a 6 p.m. CT game on Tuesday.