The Alabama Crimson Tide baseball team was struggling. The Tide posted a 6-9 record in their previous 15 games through the first weekend in April. Of the 45 teams ranked or receiving votes in the most recent USA Today College Baseball Coaches Poll, Alabama wasn’t one of them despite a 22-11 record and being 17-6 on their home field in Tuscaloosa. They needed to make a statement, and boy, did they ever do it.
Visiting the Samford Bulldogs (22-11) in nearby Birmingham, Alabama started the game with first baseman Drew Williamson driving in designated hitter Keith Holcombe, the football-player-turned-leadoff-hitter for the baseball team. After a scoreless second, head coach Brad Bohannon’s team finally broke through and had the best single inning in Alabama baseball history.
“It was just one of those nights, and luckily it was a good night for us,” Bohannon said after the game. “The park played really offensive – which this place can at times – but they didn’t move the fences up for us when we were up to bat.”
The fences may not have moved at Joe Lee Griffin Stadium, but it sure seemed like they did when the the third inning began.
Alabama started the inning with back-to-back-to-back home runs by T.J. Reeves, Morgan McCullough, and Tyler Gentry, the first time Tide teammates have done that since April 2008.
After that, the real onslaught began.
The Crimson Tide plated 13 runs before the third inning was over and set program records with 11 hits and five home runs in the inning. Including the three-straight home runs to start it all off, Alabama recorded nine-straight hits and finished with 31 total bases, both of which are new school records for a single inning.
All nine Alabama starters recorded at least one hit in the game, with Gentry and Williamson each recording three hits. Reeves and third baseman Brett Auerbach led the team by driving in four runs a piece.
Reeves and Gentry — both are freshman — each homered twice, plus Auerbach, McCullough, Williamson, catcher Johnny Hawk and pinch hitter Tyler Ras all went deep once to give Alabama nine homers on the night. That’s the most in a single game for Alabama since they hit 13 back in 1999.
Alabama coasted the rest of the way to enjoy a much-needed 21-2 victory.
It’s rare to see any baseball game with this many hits and long balls, but it’s even more rare for a single inning to produce eye-popping numbers like this.
The Tide will look to turn this momentum into more wins as they travel to Starkville to take on the No. 6 Mississippi State Bulldogs (27-6, 7-5 SEC) for a three-game series over the weekend.