Crimson Tide Baseball Grounds Skyhawks

Alabama Athletics

Joey Blackwell

TUSCALOOSA, Ala. — Alabama baseball continued its roll on Tuesday afternoon, downing the Tennessee-Martin Skyhawks 10-5 at Sewell-Thomas Stadium.

A high-energy offense that was able to consistently put runs on the board combined with the solid relief effort of junior left-handed pitcher Garret Rukes (1-0) propelled the Crimson Tide to its eighth-consecutive win of the season.

"Really glad to get the win today," Alabama coach Brad Bohannon said. "I thought UT-Martin is a really competitive group and I'm really proud of our offense of [scoring] in five different innings which has kind of been a consistent things as of late."

Rukes entered in the third inning to relieve sophomore starting pitcher Dylan Smith, pitching three-and-two-thirds innings, allowing no runs off of one hit, walking one and striking out six.

The Crimson Tide bullpen continued to impress, with the combination of Rukes, Brock Guffey and Dylan Oliver allowing only one run off of five hits in six-and-two-thirds innings.

"Obviously the story of the game was Rukes leading the bullpen," Bohannon said. "They've pitched really well — the bullpen — to this point this year and if they continue to do that then we're going to continue to win our share of games."

The Alabama bullpen has only allowed three runs in 33 innings pitched this season.

As is seemingly becoming routine this season, Alabama started the run-scoring early with a sacrifice fly in the bottom of the first inning by junior left fielder Tyler Gentry, allowing senior third baseman Brett Auerbach to cross the plate.

UT-Martin responded in kind in the top of the second with a two-out single to left field by junior catcher Blake Davis, scoring junior third baseman Casey Harford.

Alabama added four more runs in the bottom of the second, highlighted by two-run home run by freshman designated hitter Owen Diodati. The home run marks Diodati's team-leading fourth home run of the season.

After the Skyhawks added three more runs in the top of the third, the Crimson Tide added another run in the bottom of the inning with an RBI-single to center field by freshman second baseman Jim Jarvis, scoring freshman center fielder Myles Austin.

In what was probably the wildest play of the game, sophomore left fielder T.J. Reeves reached first base in the bottom of the fourth with the bases loaded after the third baseman fielded his grounder, but made a throwing error that allowed Reese to reach first safely. The error allowed two runs to score, increasing the Alabama lead to 8-4.

The Crimson Tide scored its final two runs in the bottom of the sixth, with freshman first baseman Zane Denton hitting a two-RBI single.

A home run for the Skyhawks (4-4) in the top of the seventh by senior center fielder Sean Dixson wasn't enough. Alabama closed out the final six outs to secure the 10-5 victory.

"[UT-Martin] helped us a little bit," Bohannon said. "They gave us some baserunners and to our credit when they helped us they did a pretty good job of taking advantage of it and making them hurt."f

Freshman lefty Austin Kasick (0-1) was saddled with the loss. He went two innings and allowed five runs off of three hits, walked three and struck out one.

The Crimson Tide returns to action on Wednesday against Middle Tennessee (3 p.m. CT, SEC Network+).