Baseball Still Undefeated with Win in High Point Series Opener
The No. 20 Alabama baseball team is still undefeated, and despite a change in the weekend plans, won its series opener against High Point at Sewell-Thomas Stadium.
The Crimson Tide (6-0) had originally been scheduled to face Pepperdine in Malibu, Calif., but instead played the Panthers when both teams’ scheduled California games were canceled due to inclement weather. Alabama’s 9-4 win was only the second time the Crimson Tide did not score double-digit runs so far this season.
“That was a great game for us,” Alabama head coach Brad Bohannon said. “We certainly weren’t perfect… The bullpen was awesome… We scored in five of eight innings today- really glad the game played out the way it did. It’s not always going to be easy. I really liked the feel in the dugout. The guys did a good job being consistent and just playing."
Starting pitcher Grayson Hitt struck out six, but walked three, and only pitched 3.2 innings. Brock Blatter took the reins from Hitt and got the win, recording six swinging strikeouts in a row at one point. Alton Davis II and Hunter Furtado closed the game out on the mound for Alabama.
The Panthers graced the scoreboard first when a run reached on an error in the top of the very first inning. The Crimson Tide responded in the bottom of the frame when designated hitter Dominic Tamez doubled to score Jim Jarvis. Catcher Mac Guscette then hit his third home run of the young season in the bottom of the second to give the home team its first lead.
In the top of the fourth inning, High Point loaded the bases and crossed a pair of runs after Blatter’s entry into the game. The young reliever settled in from there, tossing his six punchouts on 52 pitches across 2.2 innings of work.
“I felt good,” Blatter said. “I’ve been built up to do that. It felt pretty good.”
“We have a lot of confidence in Brock,” Bohannon said. “We got behind in a game on Friday night and we went to him. That kind of says a lot right there.”
Second baseman Ed Johnson hit his first home run in a Crimson Tide uniform in the home half of the inning, bringing home both himself and Colby Shelton and retaking the lead. Tamez scored Jarvis again in the fifth, followed by a Shelton RBI single.
“The first at bat, I was kind of on the plate, and [High Point starter Sammy Garcia] was [pitching] me in,” Johnson said. “My approach the next at bat was to get a step off the plate, expecting fastball- and I got a good one.”
High Point scored the final runner Blatter was responsible for in the seventh. With two out and runners at the corners in the home half after the stretch, Johnson sent a three-run home run, his second of the game, over the left field wall. The Panthers did not score again.
The teams will rematch on Saturday. First pitch in Tuscaloosa is scheduled for 4 p.m. CT. Alabama is vying for its second series victory of the 2023 season.