Alabama scored five runs over the last three innings en route to a 7-5 non-conference road win over the Samford Bulldogs, in front of 1,847 fans at Joe Lee Griffin Field. With the win, Alabama improved to 25-15 overall while Samford dropped to 23-15.
With the score tied at 5-5, Austen Smith tripled off the left field wall to lead off the ninth inning. Smith scored the game-winning run on a safety squeeze by Allen Dye, as the Crimson Tide defeated Samford for the first time in five tries. The leadoff triple was the only hit in five at-bats for Smith. Brett Booth scored the final run on a wild pitch later in the inning.
"We knew we were going to be in a battle tonight," UA head coach Mitch Gaspard said. "We did a good job of getting leadoff guys on and we got a couple of big hits. Obviously we had the big play on the safety squeeze that Smith was able to get around the tag."
Jonathan Smart pitched the final two innings for Alabama to get his second win of the season, improving to 2-0 on the year. Smart allowed one hit with three strikeouts in 2.0 innings to close the game. Andrew Jones (0-3) took the loss for Samford, after allowing two runs on one hit with a strikeout in the ninth.
"I thought pitching wise we did a nice job," Gaspard said. "Windsor gave us a nice start, Rosecrans gave us another good outing and Smart did what he's been doing and found a way to shut it down."
Alabama starting pitcher Adam Windsor threw 4.1 innings, allowing one run on two hits with three strikeouts. Rosecrans allowed one hit in 1.2 innings, getting the Tide out of a jam in the sixth, before throwing a scoreless seventh inning.
Taylor Dugas was 2-for-5 with two RBI and a double, Jared Reaves was 2-for-4 with a double and a walk, and David Kindred was 2-for-4 with a RBI and a run scored.
UA opened a 2-0 lead in the second inning, scoring twice against three Samford pitchers in the inning. The first run came on a single up the middle by David Kindred, plating Andrew Miller who doubled earlier in the inning. Kindred came around to score on the second career double by left fielder Hunter Gregory.
Samford cut the Tide's lead in half when Saxon Butler hit a 1-0 pitch from Windsor over the right field fence to lead off the bottom of the fourth.
The Crimson Tide looked to extend their lead, but with the bases loaded in the sixth inning, Josh Sanders flied out to right center to end the threat.
In the bottom of the sixth inning, Samford loaded the bases off relievers Charley Sullivan and Brett Whitaker. Kevin Putkonen's double to the gap in right center off Whitaker plated all three base runners, making the score 4-2 in favor of the Bulldogs. The fourth run of the inning came across when a Putkonen scored when UA catcher Brock Bennett could not handle a throw home by shortstop Jared Reaves.
"We had some offense tonight and that was good to see, especially after Saturday where we were nonexistent offensively," Gaspard added. "I thought some guys put good swings on some balls, and I don't know how the ball Smith hit didn't go out of the park."
Alabama answered with two runs in the seventh inning. After Bennett walked and Reaves doubled to open the inning, Dugas following with a double down the left field line to score both runners to cut the deficit to 5-4.
The Tide evened the score at 5-5 in the eighth when pinch runner Allen Dye scored on an infield out by Bennett. Bennett beat out the throw on an attempted double play, allowing Dye, who replaced Kindred who doubled to lead off the eighth, to score the tying run. After Bennett stole second and Reaves singled, Dugas took a third strike to end the inning.
Smith led off the ninth inning with his only hit of the game, a triple off the left center field wall off reliever Andrew Jones. A one-out throwing error by Samford third baseman C.K. Irby allowed Booth to reach, and Dye followed with safety squeeze scoring Smith for the go ahead run on a controversial call at the plate. Gregory struck out after to discussion at home plate, but a wild pitch on the swing allowed Booth to cross, giving the Tide a 7-5 advantage.
"It was a good win and a good start to the week," said Gaspard. "We have a big weekend against Florida coming up, so it's nice to get this one and have some energy going into the weekend."
Alabama returns to action on Friday, April 22 with the first games of a three-game Southeastern Conference road series against the No. 5 ranked Florida Gators. First pitch for Friday's game is scheduled for 6 p.m. CT from McKethan Stadium. Game two will begin at 5 p.m. CT and will be televised on ESPN2 and game three is slated for a noon CT start on Sunday.
Alabama 7, Samford 5 (Apr 19, 2011 at Birmingham, Ala.)
Alabama............. 020 000 212 - 7 11 1 (25-15)
Samford............. 000 104 000 - 5 9 3 (23-15)
Pitchers: Alabama - Adam Windsor; Charley Sullivan(5); Brett Whitaker(6); Josh Rosecrans(6);
Jonathan Smart(8) and Brock Bennett. Samford - Joshua VanFleteren; Michael Gunter(2);
Taylor Hammond(2); Josh Martin(2); Rumiko Forrester(4); Gil Walker(5); Phillip Ervin(6);
Tyler Vanderheiden(6); C.K. Irby(7); Grant Sides(8); Andrew Jones(9) and Brad Moss.
Win-Jonathan Smart(2-0) Loss-Andrew Jones(0-3) T-2:54 A-1847
HR SAM - Saxon Butler (7).
Weather: 82, fair
Hammond faced 2 batters in the 2nd.
Sullivan faced 2 batters in the 6th.