A six-run ninth highlighted the Crimson Tide’s big scoring night as Alabama baseball cruised to a 13-3 win over Samford on Tuesday evening at Joe Lee Griffin Field. The midweek victory moves UA to 8-0 overall, matching the 2010 campaign for the best start since 2002, when the Crimson Tide began the year 10-0 under head coach Jim Wells.

“It’s always great to get a road win, especially against a good Samford team,” said Alabama head coach Brad Bohannon. “We didn’t play our best baseball, but I’m glad we did enough to come out on top in this one.”

Alabama’s offense finished with 10 hits for its sixth double-digit hit performance of the season and its fourth in as many games. The Tide received multi-hit outings from its 4-5-6 hitters, with junior Chandler Taylor, senior Chandler Avant and junior Keith Holcombe each collecting two hits apiece. Taylor finished 2-for-3 with both of hits being home runs, while the junior added a team-high four RBI and three runs scored. UA hitters also recorded seven walks on the night, three of which came with bases loaded, resulting in three runs scored.

On the hill, redshirt freshman Garret Rukes (1-0) earned his first win of the 2018 campaign with 2.0 innings of scoreless work, allowing one hit and issuing a walk while striking out four Bulldog hitters. Rukes was followed by redshirt sophomores Brock Love and Connor Stutts, sophomore Deacon Medders and junior Dylan Duarte. The five pitchers combined for 11 strikeouts to match the season-high mark by the Alabama arms.

The Crimson Tide got out to an early lead in the third with a two-run frame. Pinch-hitter John Trousdale led off the inning, with the sophomore singling to center. Junior Cobie Vance was­­­ hit by a pitch following Trousdale and then a misplay at first in the next at-bat allowed Joe Breaux, a junior, to reach, loading the bases for UA. With nowhere to put him, senior Hunter Alexander drew a four-pitch walk, crossing the game’s first run, and a sacrifice fly from Taylor in the next at-bat brought in the second tally of the inning to give the Tide an early 2-0 lead.

Alabama followed with a four-run fifth inning. Vance led things off with a walk before Breaux was hit by a pitch and then an Alexander walk loaded them up. Taylor was then issued a free pass as well, bringing in UA’s first run of the frame. After a pitching change by the Bulldogs, Avant greeted the new arm with a two-RBI single over the head of the third baseman. A fielder’s choice in the next at-bat registered the inning’s first out but put runners on the corners. The next batter, Sam Praytor, added one more RBI with the freshman backstop sending a sacrifice fly to center to make it a 6-0 game.

Samford cut the UA lead in half in the bottom of the sixth, plating three runs. The Bulldogs began the rally with a one-out walk followed by a single and another free pass to load the bases. A fielder’s choice in the next at-bat registered the second out of the inning but scored the first run for Samford. The Bulldogs followed with a two-RBI double to left-center, setting things at 6-3 heading into the final three frames.

Taylor added one Tide run in the seventh with his first solo homer of the night before the Crimson Tide’s big ninth. In the final inning, Alabama recorded six runs, all with two outs. The scoring began with Taylor’s second solo shot of the night.

A pair of singles from Avant and Holcombe followed by a hit-by-pitch for Praytor loaded them up for UA once again, forcing another Bulldog pitching change. The new Samford arm walked junior Jett Manning, scoring another one for the Tide. In the next at-bat, Cody Henry cleared the bases with a three-RBI triple to right, before the senior came across on the next play thanks to a Vance single to close out the night’s scoring at 13-3.

The Crimson Tide returns to the diamond tomorrow in Tuscaloosa, as Alabama plays host to Alabama State at Sewell-Thomas Stadium. The Tide will look to junior right-hander Mason Duke for the start on the mound while the Hornets counter with senior lefty Ivanniel Vazquez. First pitch of Wednesday’s game is set for 3 p.m. CT with the midweek contest airing live on SEC Network+.

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