Owen Diodati Plays Hero in Tide’s Walk Off Win Over Auburn
In a game that was littered with hits on both sides of the scoreboard, it was Alabama’s Owen Diodati that, once again, delivered the most important one. With nobody out in the bottom of the 10th inning, Diodati sliced a walk off base hit down the right field line that scored Zane Denton from second base, giving Alabama the 8-7 win over rival Auburn.
Entering the 10th inning, Diodati was 1-4 with a RBI single in the 3rd inning that scored William Hamiter. As Diodati walked up to the plate, the Auburn infield convened for a quick meeting on the mound which gave Diodati the chance to talk to Coach Bohannon over at third base.
When asked what Bohannon told him, Diodati said, “He said, ‘I’m not going to make you bunt. Every other coach in America with a left-on-left matchup would probably make you bunt right now, but I’m not gonna make you bunt. Just breathe.’”
30 seconds later, Bohannon was breathing a sigh of relief as he watched the entire Alabama bench swarm Diodati to celebrate the Tide’s walk off win.
The entire Alabama lineup was able to reach base safely at some point in the game, and some were able to make it round-trip around the bases on balls over the fence. Drew Williamson started the scoring for Alabama in the 2nd inning as he delivered a 363ft 2-run homerun to the base of the left field scoreboard, his fourth of the year.
In the 3rd inning, Jim Jarvis led off with a bunt single, followed by a Hamiter single. Sam Praytor would then deliver a single to left field to score Jarvis, giving Alabama a 3-1 lead. Hamiter scored on the very next pitch as Diodati delivered his first RBI hit of the night to put Alabama up 4-1.
With two outs in the 4th, Jarvis worked a walk and advanced into scoring position following a wild pitch. Peyton Wilson lined a single into right field which easily scored the speedy Jarvis from 2nd giving Alabama a 5-1 lead.
The Auburn bats managed to put up five combined runs in the 3rd and 4th innings thanks to a Bryson Ware triple and a Steven Williams inside the park homerun in the 3rd. Judd Ward delivered a 2-RBI double in the 4th tying the game and was driven in later in the inning on a RBI groundout, giving Auburn the 6-5 lead.
In the 5th inning, Zane Denton crushed his sixth homerun of the year to tie it back up 6-6, and Auburn responded in the top half of the 8th with a homerun of their own to take the lead back 7-6.
In the bottom of the 8th, Crimson Tide catcher Sam Praytor crushed his 9th home run of the year down the left field line to tie it right back up 7-7.
Pitching prevailed in the 9th inning, sending the game to extras where Denton led off the 10th with a single, followed by a single by Praytor, and then Alabama raised the Canadien flag in celebration at The Joe thanks to Diodati's hit.
With as good as the bats were, the starting pitching struggled. Alabama’s starter Tyler Ras went 4+IP/8H/5R/1BB/2K/ on 71 pitches. Will Freeman took the ball from Ras in the 5th and gave up one run over four innings. Landon Green came in to finish the job for the Tide, which he did, retiring all six batters he faced, striking out four of them.
Owen Diodati was the star of the show tonight, and it’s safe to say that it won’t be the last time that happens. The Crimson Tide are right back at it Friday night for game two of the Iron Bowl series as first pitch is scheduled for 6 p.m. CT with Dylan Smith set to take the hill for Alabama.