Alabama tops Tennessee after 9th-inning drama
HOOVER, Ala. – Alabama took down the higher-seeded team for a second straight day, this time claiming a 3-2 win over the No. 2 seed and fourth-ranked Tennessee Volunteers at the Hoover Met. The Crimson Tide came away with a 3-2 win in 11 innings to advance to the winner’s bracket on Thursday and improve to 31-22 on the season.
Alabama got out front first once again, scratching across one in the second and another run in the sixth for a 2-0 advantage. Tennessee answered, evening things up in the seventh thanks to a pair of Alabama errors that led to two unearned runs. Both teams would go scoreless in regulation, sending things to extras where the Crimson Tide took the lead for good on an RBI-single from Owen Diodati for the eventual 3-2 win.
The Crimson Tide was able to come away with the win thanks to another impressive effort from the pitching staff. Jacob McNairy got the start for UA, tossing a career-high 4.2 innings of scoreless baseball while allowing just three hits and a walk with two punchouts. William Freeman followed in relief with 1.2 innings, allowing two unearned runs on a hit with one strikeout. Chase Lee (7-0) was last to get the call with the junior closer contributing a season-high 4.2 scoreless frames to earn the eventual win.
Diodati led the offensive effort for UA, finishing 2-for-4 with the go-ahead RBI to pair with a double, and one walk. Matching Diodati was Jackson Tate, with Tate posting a 2-for-4 effort as well that featured a team-high two RBI to go with a walk.
From Head Coach Brad Bohannon
“Tennessee played a great game, and I’m really proud of our kids – we could have easily folded or cracked after those defensive miscues in the sixth, but the kids just kept coming. That’s what they do. This group is just resilient and as good at dealing with adversity as any that I’ve ever had. I’m just really happy for them that they can get some short-term satisfaction today and I’m just real proud of them.”
How It Happened
- T2 | Zane Denton led off the second with a single. He moved to third on a double from Owen Diodati in the next at-bat before coming home on a 6-3 groundout from Jackson Tate. (1-0, Alabama)
- T6 | Tate drew a bases-loaded walk to push across another Tide run. (2-0, Alabama)
- B7 | Tennessee got on the board with a pair of unearned runs in the seventh to even the score up at two apiece. (2-2)
- T11 | Sam Praytor led things off with a ground-rule double to right-center to get the rally started. Diodati followed one-out later with a single back up the chute to bring Praytor home for the game-winning run. (3-2, Alabama)
- Alabama has totaled 18 comeback wins on the season.
- Jacob McNairy tossed a career-long 4.2 innings in today’s start. His previous high for innings pitched was 4.1 in game one of the doubleheader with Wright State on Feb. 27 of this season. The outing against the Raiders came in relief.
- Chase Lee picked up his team-high tying seventh win. His seven wins matches Tyler Ras with the duo posting the most wins by an Alabama pitcher since Geoffrey Bramblett had eight in 2015.
- The Tide closer tossed a career-high 85 pitches in relief. Lee’s previous career-high total for pitches was 76 which came last season against Lipscomb on March 6.
- Lee contributed a season-high 4.2 innings in today’s game. Lee’s previous season-high total was 4.0 against Stetson on March 13.
- Owen Diodati has helped the Crimson Tide either walk it off or provided UA with the game-winning hit on four occasions this season. Diodati’s first walkoff came against South Alabama on March 9 with his game-winning grand slam. He then recorded the game-winning home run on April 11 at Texas A&M and helped UA walk off Auburn on April 15 with the game-winning single at home.
Next up for Alabama is a matchup with Florida on Thursday, May 27. The Crimson Tide and Gators are scheduled for a 4:30 p.m. CT first pitch on SEC Network. A win over UF would give the Tide the day off on Friday while a loss would move UA into the 3 p.m. timeslot on Friday against either Mississippi State or Tennessee.