On a stunning, spring-like, sunny Saturday afternoon in Tuscaloosa, Ala., fans filed into Sewell-Thomas Stadium to watch the Alabama Crimson Tide baseball team beat the Xavier Musketeers 5-4, handing the Tide the series win.

“Made it exciting again, not by choice again. Really glad to get a win against a good team, really glad to learn a lot of valuable lessons and still come out on top,” said Alabama head coach Brad Bohannon.

Both pitchers struggled to start, with Tide's Antoine Jean earning two walks and two hits, and Musketeers starter Bryce Barnett earned two hits and one walk. The difference in the inning though, was Xavier's Jack Housinger hitting a one-run homerun past the right field wall in the top of the first to give them the 1-0 lead. Alabama loaded the bases in the bottom of the first, but could not produce any run support.

Jean gave up two walks in the top of the second, but gout out of the inning with no damage. The same cannot be said for Barnett, however, who gave up four runs and five hits in the bottom of the second inning, giving the Tide a 4-1 lead and ended his afternoon. Miles Halligan came in for Barnett, ending the inning. Relief pitcher Hunter Furtado comes in for Jean after two innings pitched, two hits, four walks, and one run.

The bats stayed cold from the third inning until the bottom of the sixth inning, when first baseman Zane Denton got a base hit, the teams third hit since the monster second inning that gave them a lead, but the lack base traffic stopped any shot at adding to the lead. Xavier ended its hit drought in the top of the seventh inning, with a one run home-run by Tyler Demartino, cutting its deficit to two runs. Prior to the bomb, the Musketeers only had two hits since the first homer in the first inning.

Xavier found a few breaks that almost tied up the game. In the top of the eighth inning, Alabama's relief pitcher Landon Green threw a hat trick of wild pitches, causing one run to score and a man threatening on third, but a groundout to first ended the Musketeers comeback.

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Drew Williamson opened the bottom of the eighth with a solo home-run, extending Alabama's lead by two, 5-3. Xavier picks up one more run in the top of the ninth, after a fielder's choice and wild pitch. They would end up loading the bases with two outs, but could not do enough to make the comeback, losing by a run.

“Really inefficient on both sides of the ball today… I thought after that second inning, put up that four spot, thought we had a couple chances after that to create more separation and bust the game open, and we didn’t,” said Bohannon.

 

The Alabama Crimson Tide finishes its opening series vs Xavier Musketeers Sunday, February 20, 2022, at 1 p.m. CST at Sewell-Thomas Stadium in Tuscaloosa, Ala.

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