Samford slips by Bama 8-7

BIRMINGHAM, AL Samford overcame a four-run deficit in the sixth inning to post an 8-7 win over Alabama on Wednesday night at Joe Lee Griffin Field in Birmingham on Wednesday night.

The Bulldogs scored five runs in the bottom of the sixth inning to take its first lead of the game and then snapped a 7-7 tie with a run in the bottom of the seventh inning to sweep the season series with Alabama.

Trey Hayes led off the decisive seventh inning with a double to right-center field off losing pitcher Brett Whitaker and moved to third on Gary Cramer's sacrifice bunt.  Bo Smith followed with a line out to left field that scored Hayes with the go-ahead run as the Bulldogs grabbed an 8-7 lead.

Whitaker (1-3) took the loss for Alabama after he allowed one run and two hits in two innings of work.  The Crimson Tide used nine total pitchers in eight innings and Whitaker was the only pitcher to record more than three outs.

Andrew Jones (5-2) was the winning pitcher for Samford after he escaped a bases-loaded jam in the seventh inning.  He worked 1 2/3 innings with two strikeouts and one walk.

Samford freshman left-hander Lex Rutledge worked a scoreless ninth inning for his ninth save of the year.

Alabama tied the game at 7-7 in the top of the seventh inning off Tyler Vanderheiden without a hit.  Sophomore center fielder Taylor Dugas drew a one-out walk and later scored the tying run on a wild pitch.

Samford (27-20) took its first lead with five runs in the bottom of the sixth inning off sophomore right-hander Tyler White and senior left-hander David Head.

Hayes opened the sixth with a base hit to center and moved to second when Cramer walked.  After a strikeout of Smith, White then hit Stephen Ballard to load the bases.  White then walked nine-hole hitter Brad Moss to force in Hayes from third base to cut the lead to 6-3.

After Head replaced White on the mound, Wayne Miller greeted him with an RBI single to center to score Cramer and Michael Johnson's ground out scored Ballard to make it a 6-5 game. Mason Meredeth followed with a two-run double to left to score Moss and Miller and give Samford its first lead at 7-6.

Alabama (29-20) held a 6-2 lead in the sixth inning on the strength of three two-run home runs.  Sophomore Jon Kelton slammed a two-run home run in the second inning and senior third baseman Jake Smith hit a pair of two-run home runs in the fourth and sixth innings to give the Tide a four-run lead.

Kelton smashed a two-out home run over the scoreboard in right-center field to give Alabama a 2-0 lead in the second inning.  Junior DH David Kindred reached on a two-out single up the middle and scored on Kelton's first career home run.

Samford picked up a run in the bottom of the third inning when Brad Moss was hit by a Matt Taylor pitch and scored on Wayne Miller's double to right center to cut the lead to 2-1.

The Crimson Tide put two more runs on the board in the fourth inning when Smith slammed 1-2 breaking ball over the wall in left-center field to give the Tide a 4-1 lead.  Rutledge led off the inning with an infield hit and scored on Smith's eighth home run of the season.

Samford loaded the bases with one out in the fifth against freshman left-hander Adam Windsor.  Austin Allison reached on an infield single and then Windsor issued walks to Moss and Johnson with one out.  Another freshman, right-hander Trey Pilkington, replaced Windsor and allowed an RBI single to Mason Meredeth as Allison scored to make it 4-2.  Pilkington got out of the inning when he got Samford's leading hitter David Schulze to rap into an inning-ending double play.

Smith hit his second two-run home of the game in the sixth inning to extend the lead to 6-2.  Rutledge was hit by a pitch to lead off the inning and scored when Smith smacked a 2-0 curve ball beyond the left field wall to give UA a four-run lead.

Alabama plays its final home series of the 2010 season this weekend when Tide hosts the Mississippi Rebels at Sewell-Thomas Stadium.  The series opener is Friday, May 14 at 6:35 p.m. (CDT).


*Alabama and Samford used 16 pitchers in Wednesday's game. The Crimson Tide used nine pitchers in eight innings, while Samford used seven pitchers.  Junior LHP Jonathan Smart started the game and allowed two hits in a scoreless first inning. Junior RHP Jason Townsend retired the Bulldogs on five pitches in the second inning. Senior RHP Adam Scott worked a perfect fourth inning.

*Junior second baseman Ross Wilson returned to the lineup on Wednesday night after he has missed the last five games with a hairline fracture in his left hand.

*Sophomore left fielder Jon Kelton hit his first career home run in the second inning to give the Crimson Tide a 2-0 lead.  Kelton's first career home run came in his 154th career at-bat for the Crimson Tide.

*Senior third baseman Jake Smith belted a pair of two-run home runs against Samford, giving him 41 home runs in his four-year career.  He hit his 40th career home run in the fourth inning to tie Beau Hearod for seventh place in the school's all-time home run list.  He then surpassed Hearod with his 41st career homer in the sixth inning.

*Junior shortstop Josh Rutledge went 2-for-4 and scored two runs against Samford.  The Cullman, Ala., native has hit safely in all 20 road games for the Tide this season.

INFORMATION SOURCE: University of Alabama Athletics