TUSCALOOSA, Ala. – A solid pitching performance from Tucker Hawley helped propel the Alabama baseball team to a 5-0 victory over the Eastern Illinois Panthers to earn the weekend sweep, Sunday at Sewell-Thomas Stadium.
Hawley went 8.0 innings, allowing only four hits while striking out three and walking none to earn the win, his third of the season. Today's game continued Hawley's streak of 17 straight innings of scoreless baseball over his past two games. Christian Slaznik (0-3) took the loss for the Panthers.
"We had back-to-back good outings from Tucker Hawley," UA head coach Mitch Gaspard said. "He went nine innings last week and was in position to do that again today by throwing a lot of strikes and keeping the ball down."
The Tide also excelled at the plate with every batter who stepped to the plate earning at least one hit on the day. Taylor Dugas had a solid day at the dish, going 2-for-4 with one run, a RBI and a walk. Of his two hits, one was a triple, his second of the series and third of the season. For the weekend, Dugas went 5-for-12 (.417) with four runs and three RBI. Also excelling this weekend was Brock Bennett who went 6-for-13 (.462) with one run and five RBI hitting out of the two-hole.
"Really overall I thought it was a good weekend," Gaspard added. "Overall this really wraps up the preseason as we start moving forward with a big week for us coming up with Auburn on Tuesday and then opening up conference play at Ole Miss next weekend."
The Tide kicked off the scoring in the first, providing all the run support Hawley needed. A leadoff triple by Taylor Dugas was immediately followed by a Brock Bennett single to center to plate Dugas, setting the score at 1-0.
Alabama added another in the bottom of the third thanks to an RBI single from Brandt Hendricks. The single plated Jared Reaves, who reached two batters earlier, to bring the score to 2-0. Reaves was 2-for-3 on the day and now leads the Tide with a .439 average.
The Tide added three more runs in the bottom of the sixth. A single through the left side from Brett Booth helped scored Andrew Miller who reached earlier on infield single. A double steal moved both runners and a sac fly from Jon Kelton helped to cross another runner. Following Kelton, Dugas got his second hit of the day, a single up the middle, to score a third run to set the score at 5-0 by inning's end.
Alabama returns to action on Wednesday when the Crimson Tide heads to Montgomery to take on Auburn in a non-conference game. The game will be played at Riverwalk Stadium, the home of the Montgomery Biscuits, the Double-A affiliate of the Tampa Bay Rays. Both team's pitchers have yet to be determined. First pitch is set for 7:05 p.m. with the game being aired live on CSS.