Bama Baseball Claims 2021 Iron Bowl Series
Coach Brad Bohannon and Alabama baseball clinched this year's series against Auburn on Saturday after an enthralling back-and-fourth offensive showdown, which ended in walk-off fashion, by a final score of 10-9.
Following the thriller, Bohannon said, "All three of these games this weekend either team could have won. It could have been 3-0 or 0-3, either way. Huge credit to Auburn – they just kept their foot on the pedal. They scored first in all three games and just kind of kept us on our heels, but I'm really proud of our kids."
Returning from a multi-month injury, sophomore LHP Connor Prielipp was given the start and only got to throw for one inning before coach Bo pulled him; however, it seems that this was a part of the plan according to Friday's post-game press conference. The sophomore finished his weekend after facing just five batters while recording a walk, a hit, and Auburn's first run of the outing.
Just as planned, Prielipp was replaced with sophomore LHP Antoine Jean - but that's where the plan would start to go south. Jean couldn't manage to find his way out of the second inning before coach Bo went to the bullpen for the third time in just the first two frames.
The pitching woes would settle - as much as they could - from there as it just seemed like there was no way of stopping either club from getting a hit. The game eventually became: 'Who can stop the other team's offense for just long enough?'
It felt like every SEC baseball player in the state of Alabama managed to put one in play on Saturday afternoon after one of the conference's highest-scoring matchups so far this season. The two squads combined for 30 hits, but it was Alabama's use of the long ball and RBI doubles that led the way to a walk-off victory in the bottom of the 9th.
Though he didn't manage to clobber one of Bama's three home runs, junior Alabama-native Drew Williamson still went 4-for-5 on the evening, including a run and stolen base. The game's walk-off hero, on the other hand, was sophomore infielder Jim Jarvis who managed to send a line drive to the warning track for the game-winning run. The defensive-minded sophomore - who coincidentally sports one of the lowest batting averages amongst his peers (.276) - finished the evening 2-for-5 with no strikeouts.
Second on the team for most home runs, sophomore Owen Diodati set up the early offensive theatrics by tying the game in the 3rd with a two-run homer to make up for the work left by Prielipp and Jean. That's now nine home runs for the Canadian in 2021.
In the 7th inning, sophomore Tuscaloosa-native William Hamiter sent over the game's second home run - which also scored Peyton Wilson - and brought the Auburn lead down to just one. In the same inning, the team-leading home run hitter Sam Praytor knocked in his 10th of the season and officially re-tied the game for the Tide.
After the win, the Tide moves to 22-13 on the season while majorly improving their conference record, now 7-8. Bama has one more home game before heading to Lexington, KY for a weekend series with the Wildcats.
On Tuesday of this week, the Tide welcomes the North Alabama Lions for a weekday evening meeting which is scheduled to start at 6:00 PM CST. For the weekend, Alabama opens their three-game road series against Kentucky on Friday, April 23, at 5:30 CST in Kentucky Proud Park.
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