By James Hayes | Field Pass
Alabama baseball walked it off in extras on Saturday against Stetson, downing the Hatters 4-3 in 12 innings at Sewell-Thomas Stadium. The 23rd-ranked Crimson Tide evened the series up with the win and moved to 13-3 overall on the season.
Alabama and Stetson were knotted up at three apiece after nine innings. The Crimson Tide got runners on in the 10th and 11th but were unable to capitalize on the opportunities until the 12th. William Hamiter began the 12th with a leadoff single. Sam Praytorfollowed with a walk to put two on with no outs, creating a sacrifice bunt situation for Drew Williamson. The Tide cleanup hitter dropped down a perfect sac bunt that was fielded by the Stetson pitcher, but an errant throw sent the ball into right field and allowed Hamiter to come all the way in for the game-winning run.
Saturday's matchup saw Dylan Smith and Stetson starter Chris Gonzalez post equally impressive pitching performances. Smith was stellar, tossing a career-long 8.0 innings in the start. The junior allowed three runs on six hits and a walk with a career-high tying 10 strikeouts. He retired the final 10 batters he faced before handing the ball over to his bullpen. Gonzalez countered with 9.2 innings and three strikeouts for the Hatters.
Chase Lee (4-0) picked up his fourth win of the year with a season-long 4.0 innings of scoreless, hitless baseball that included four strikeouts. Lee picked up right where Smith left off, retiring the first six batters he faced to help UA post a stretch of 16 straight retired from the sixth through the 10th inning to push it to extras for the eventual Alabama win.
From Head Coach Brad Bohannon
"What an awesome college baseball game today. Both starters were just outstanding – Dylan (Smith) and their guy Chris Gonzalez. They were just two older guys that know how to pitch, which is pretty refreshing in today's baseball climate. You saw two guys that got out there and commanded their fastball and threw multiple off-speed pitches for a strike. Obviously for us, Chase (Lee) was just outstanding in relief. He threw 4.0 scoreless, hitless innings. I thought we played really clean today; a couple of diving catches in center field and the pitching was just outstanding."
How It Happened
T2 | Stetson got on the board first. After a pair of one-out singles put runners on the corners, a sacrifice fly to left brought in the game's first run. (1-0, Stetson)
B2 | Zane Denton tied things up with a solo shot to left, his second homer in as many days and his sixth overall on the season. After a hit-by-pitch and a pair of singles loaded them up, the Crimson Tide took the lead as Caden Rose was hit by a pitch to push a run across. With the bases still loaded, Peyton Wilson brought in another run on a fielder's choice to move the lead to two. (3-1, Alabama)
T5 | The Hatters got a runner aboard with a one-out walk. A run came in one out later when a single through the right side plated one. Stetson then doubled down the line in left to bring in the man from first and even things up at three apiece. (3-3)
B12 | William Hamiter led off the inning with a single and moved into scoring position on a walk by Sam Praytor. Drew Williamson came to the dish next, needing to get a sacrifice bunt down. Williamson got the bunt down but an errant throw to first by the Stetson pitcher went into right field and allowed for the winning run to cross.
The Crimson Tide honored the 2020 Senior Class in Saturday's pregame ceremonies. Former players Brett Auerbach, Kyle Cameron, Casey Cobb, Walker McCleney, Dylan Oliver and Kolby Robinson along with manager Jim Tierney were recognized at the game.
Alabama has now walked it off in three games this season. The Crimson Tide had a walkoff grand slam from Owen Diodati on March 9 against South Alabama and also had a walkoff win over McNeese on Feb. 20 thanks to a Zane Denton home run.
Dylan Smith tossed a career-long 8.0 innings and 101 pitches. His previous high for innings was 7.0 last weekend at the College of Charleston on March 6. Smith's high for pitches was 96 in his start against Wright State on Feb. 27 of this season.
Smith struck out 10 in today's game to match his career-high mark for punchouts. The junior also posted 10 Ks in last weekend's start against the Cougars.
Chase Lee picked up his fourth win of the season. He has now earned the win in four of his six outings so far in 2021.
Zane Denton finished 1-for-5 on the day to push his hitting streak to eight games. Across that stretch, Denton is batting .333 (11-33) with two doubles, three home runs, seven RBI, nine runs, six walks and one hit-by-pitch.
Jim Jarvis got aboard in today's game and has now reached base safely in 14 straight games dating back to Feb. 21.