Baseball secures midweek rout of Jacksonville State

Nick Balenger, Contributing Writer

The Alabama Crimson Tide (9-0) continued its midweek success this season by welcoming the Jacksonville State University Gamecocks (3-5) to town. The Alabama bats stayed hot, leading to yet another blowout.  

The Crimson Tide’s offense couldn’t be stopped — it seemed as if Alabama had the bases loaded nearly every at-bat. The Alabama offense amounted to 16 runs on 13 hits in the first four innings.  

The Crimsons Tide got to Gamecock starting pitcher Will Baker early. After a scoreless first, Alabama was able to load the bases following a couple of walks. Not long after, Baker gave up a 2-RBI single to junior Bryce Eblin. Following a double off the wall from Colby Shelton, the Crimson Tide sent JSU’s starter out of the game in just the second inning. 

Even after sitting almost the entire starting lineup in the fourth, pinch-hitter Camden Hayslip launched a grand slam into the JSU bullpen to continue the rout of the Gamecocks. Hayslip’s towering shot was his first home run of the season. 

“I saw the ball well,” Hayslip said. “I just saw the slider down and just stayed down through it and hit it out.” 

The Gamecocks eventually ran through five bullpen arms to try to stop the bleeding. Sam Maynard was the only one who was successful, holding the Crimson Tide to no runs and only two hits in two innings. 

Alabama starting pitcher Luke Holman settled in early, retiring nine of the first 11 batters he faced while striking out the side in the second inning. Although Holman’s day was done after four innings, he only gave up one run on two hits and seven strikeouts. His lone blemish came in the fourth inning,  giving up a solo shot to Alabama transfer T.J. Reeves.  

“I just thought he had a little more conviction,” Alabama head coach Brad Bohannon said. “He had more intent in the way he was finishing pitches. He’s gonna get some big outs for us this year for sure.” 

Eblin had a standout day at the plate, going 3-5 with a double and a pair of singles. Not only did Eblin score twice, but he also managed to bring in 4 RBIs himself.  

On the JSU side, Reeves made his annual return to Tuscaloosa and made his presence known. Reeves went 2-4 with a home run and a single. His line-drive homerun to left in the fourth inning brought in JSU’s first and only run until the eighth inning.  

“I’m just so happy for T.J.,” Bohannon said. “He had a nuke homerun and made an amazing play. … You have to think he’s got a shot at being player of the year for their conference.” 

The Crimson Tide looks to continue its success at home on Friday, March 3 at 3 p.m., with the start of a three-game series against the University of Illinois Chicago.