June 1, 2013
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (seminoles.com) – Alabama held off a late comeback attempt by Savannah State to earn a 3-2 victory on Saturday afternoon in the third game of the NCAA Tallahassee Regional at Mike Martin Field inside Dick Howser Stadium.
The Crimson Tide (35-27) took a 3-0 advantage heading into the bottom of the eighth, then nearly relinquished their lead after the Tigers (33-23) scored two runs in the inning with no outs. However, Alabama was able to make big pitches when it needed to and escaped a few jams to pull out a victory and keep its season going.
Kenny Roberts led Alabama with a 3-for-4 game and two doubles. Starter Mike Oczypok (5-2) pitched seven shutout innings, while Savannah State’s Jack May (5-4) took the loss allowing three runs on seven hits in six innings pitched.
Roberts began the game auspiciously for the Crimson Tide with a leadoff double to left field. However, Roberts was stranded for the rest of the inning as Tiger starter May forced an inning-ending groundout to Ben Moore.
Savannah State’s first scoring chance came in the bottom of the third. Darien Campbell singled through the right side to lead off the inning, then was pushed to second base on a sacrifice bunt from Michael McHugh. Another sacrifice bunt advanced Campbell to third base for the second out, but Todd Hagen grounded out to second base to end the scoring threat.
Austen Smith came through for the Tide in the top of the fourth when he delivered a chopping RBI double down the left field line to plate Kyle Overstreet for the game’s first run. Brett Booth added a line-drive sacrifice fly to left field to extend Alabama’s lead to 2-0.
Roberts added a double in the fifth when his one-out shot hit the top of the left center wall, coming inches away from a home run. Georgie Salem then drove in Roberts for a key insurance run on an RBI single, Salem’s 39th RBI of the season to give Alabama a 3-0 lead.
Todd Hagen did his best to get things started for the Tigers in the sixth, hitting a double down the left field line. With two outs, David Richards singled through the right side and as Hagen attempted to score rounding third base, Alabama right field Ben Moore made a pinpoint throw to home plate to throw out Hagen by a couple steps.
In the bottom of the seventh, Savannah State tried to string together some runs with two outs. Campbell recorded an infield single and reached second base when McHugh was hit by a pitch. As the tying run at the plate, Antonio Scott struck out swinging on a full-count offering to end the inning.
The Tigers cut their deficit to 3-2 when Kevin Herlihy and pinch hitter Drew Quinney registered back-to-back RBI doubles with no outs to give Savannah State some momentum. Tide reliever Tucker Hawley came back to strike out Richards, then forced a fielder’s choice bunt from Parker Nix where pinch runner Jason Wynn was thrown out at home plate, helping preserve the Alabama lead.
Ray Castillo entered the game for Alabama in the bottom of the ninth and earned his 12th save of the season. Alabama will now play the loser of Florida State-Troy on Sunday at noon.