Bama beats Jacksonville 10-4

Posted by: Alisha Clark

JACKSONVILLE, AL Alabama senior second baseman Cal Tinsley had a career night with three hits and four RBI, including a three-run double in a six-run 11th inning as No. 19 Alabama beat Jacksonville State 10-4 in front of a record crowd 3,392 fans at Rudy Abbott Field on Wednesday night.

Tinsley started at second base in place for junior Ross Wilson, who was held out after being hit by a pitch last night against UAB, and responded with his best night in a Crimson Tide jersey.  The Tuscaloosa native went 3-for-4 with two doubles, four RBI and two runs scored. He walked and scored in the third inning, collected an RBI double in the eighth and capped his night with a three-run double in the 11th inning.

Alabama (20-9) scored six runs in the 11th inning off JSU closer Alex Jones in its first extra inning game of the season.  Junior Brock Bennett, who started at third base in place of Jake Smith, led off the inning with single to right and moved to second when sophomore left fielder Jon Kelton's sacrifice bunt was misplayed by Jones for an error.  Junior shortstop Josh Rutledge moved both runners into scoring position with another sacrifice bunt and sophomore center fielder Taylor Dugas was intentionally walked to load the bases.

Bennett scored the go-ahead run on a wild pitch by Jones and Alabama senior first baseman Clay Jones walked to load the bases.  Wilson, who entered the game as a pinch-runner in the eighth inning for David Kindred, drew a four-pitch walk to score Kelton to push the lead to 6-4.

Tinsley broke the game open with a three-run double to right-center as Rutledge, Jones and Wilson all scored to make it 9-4.  Freshman right fielder Andrew Miller laced a single to left to knock in Tinsley as UA took a 10-4 lead.

Alabama finished the game with 13 hits, including two hits each from Rutledge, Jones, Kindred and Miller.

Junior right-hander Nathan Kilcrease (2-0) picked up the win with four scoreless innings of relief for the Tide. He allowed one hit, struck out four and walked two.

Jones (1-3), the sixth of eight JSU pitchers took the loss after he allowed five runs and one hit in 2 1/3 innings. He struck out four, walked five and committed two of the Gamecocks' four errors in the loss.

Alabama set the school record with six sacrifice bunts in the win over Jacksonville State.  The previous record was five sac bunts against Vanderbilt on March 26, 2005.

Alabama snapped a 3-3 tie on Tinsley's RBI double off the top of the left-center field fence in the eighth inning as the Tide grabbed a 4-3 lead.  Kindred opened the inning with a single to right field and Wilson, who pinch-ran for Kindred, moved into scoring position on senior catcher Cody Trotter's sacrifice bunt.  Tinsley then ripped a ball off the top of the left field fence to easily score Wilson with the go-ahead run as Alabama took a 4-3 lead.

Jacksonville State (16-13) immediately tied the game in the bottom of the eighth when Adamson ripped a leadoff triple to left-center field and scored on Seguin's sacrifice fly to tie the game at 4-4.

Alabama held a 3-2 lead through five innings as the Crimson Tide manufactured single runs in the first, third and fourth innings.

The Crimson Tide put the first two men on base to lead off the game and plated the first run of the game on senior first baseman Clay Jones' one-out single. Sophomore left fielder Jon Kelton drew a leadoff walk and moved to second on junior shortstop Josh Rutledge's base hit to right field.  Sophomore Taylor Dugas moved both runners into scoring position before Jones delivered the run-scoring single.

Jacksonville State tied the game with a run in the bottom of the second inning when Blake Seguin drove in the tying run with a ground out.

Alabama regained the lead in the third inning with almost a carbon copy of the first inning.  Kelton slapped a single down the left field line and Rutledge followed with a walk.  Dugas dropped another sacrifice bunt down to send both runners into scoring position.  Junior DH David Kindred's two-out single to right knocked in Kelton with the go-ahead run as Alabama took a 2-1 lead.  Rutledge was thrown out at home on the play to end the inning.

The Crimson Tide extended the lead to 3-1 in the fourth inning taking advantage of a walk and safety squeeze bunt.  Senior second baseman Cal Tinsley, subbing for Ross Wilson, drew a one-out walk and moved to third on freshman right fielder Andrew Miller's single to left field.  Junior third baseman Brock Bennett, subbing for Jake Smith, dropped a safety squeeze bunt to score Tinsley and put the Tide up 3-1.

The Gamecocks added a run in the bottom of the fourth inning to close the gap to 3-2, but clutch pitching by UA starter Tucker Hawley preserved the one-run lead.  Kyle Bluestein was hit by a pitch to lead off the inning and Daniel Adamson followed with a base hit to left field.  A wild pitch by Hawley sent the runners to second and third with no outs.

Steven Leach drove in a run with a sacrifice fly to center field as Bluestein scored after a diving catch by Dugas. Hawley bounced back and struck out Jake Sharrock and Blake Seguin to end the inning as the Tide maintained its one-run lead.

Hawley worked five strong innings and allowed two runs and three hits with four strikeouts and two walks, but was not involved in the decision.

Jacksonville State scored the tying run in the sixth inning off freshman left-hander Matt Taylor, but another clutch pitching performance prevented further damage.  Andrew Edge and Kyle Bluestein greeted Taylor with back-to-back doubles as JSU evened the score at 3-3.   Taylor bounced back with a pair of strikeouts before Sharrock drew a two-out walk.  Taylor got out of the inning when Seguin flied out to left for the third out.

Alabama heads to Lexington, Ky., for a three-game SEC series against the Kentucky Wildcats beginning with Friday's series opener at 5:30 p.m. (CDT).