Alabama baseball takes first series against Commodores in 11 years


RHP Kade Woods shouts towards his teammates during Sunday’s game against Vanderbilt. Courtesy of UA Athletics

Michael DeVito, Contributing Writer

In the first weekend under interim head coach Jason Jackson, the Alabama Crimson Tide defeated the No. 5 Vanderbilt Commodores in an upset series win. Alabama rode off an explosive offensive performance in game one and battled it out in game three to take the series.  

On Thursday night, the Crimson Tide offense exploded for a trio of home runs and put up 11 runs on the best team in the SEC East.  The Alabama offense came alive in game one as graduate students Drew Williamson and Ed Johnson and redshirt junior Andrew Pinckney swung for the downs and combined for eight of the 11 runs scored.  

Right-hander Luke Holman toed the slab to start the series and he did not disappoint. Holman tied a career-high innings pitched as he went 7.0 strong against an impressive Vanderbilt offense heading into game one. Freshman Alton Davis II relieved Holman in the eighth and sophomore Braylon Myers entered in the ninth, and neither missed a beat. Alabama had set the tone for the series with a statement win in game one.  

“It was great to be back at home. Our fans were awesome,” Jackson said. “They really got behind the guys, and our guys feel that. … It was nice to be back at the Joe, nice to be back in front of our home crowd. I thought the crowd was awesome and provided an extra spark for our guys tonight.” 

After the offensive jolt in game one, Friday night was a whole different ball game for the Crimson Tide. Junior Caden Rose brought home the only Alabama run with a solo home run, but the Crimson Tide offense couldn’t put anything else together in the close game. Vanderbilt starter Hunter Owen went seven strong innings, allowing only Rose’s long ball.  

“Obviously, their starter was very good — Hunter Owen — he pitched great. He had all four pitches going and did a great job of kind of shutting down our offense, which had been on fire and really clicking on all cylinders,” Jackson said. “We played well, too. Garrett McMillan had a really good start, navigated through some tough innings early on.” 

Right-hander Garrett McMillan kept Alabama in the game from the start, but the offense did not repeat the same progress and life it had in game one. Vanderbilt took game two and tied the series at a game apiece.  

Entering game three on Saturday afternoon, reliable right hander Jacob McNairy was sent out and put up another strong performance in his graduate student season. In the pitchers’ duel, it was a back-and-forth game until the bottom of the eighth inning. Catcher Mac Guscette teed off and hit a long fly ball to left field and gave Alabama its first lead on the afternoon.  

Davis returned to the mound in the ninth for Alabama to try and close the door on Vanderbilt, but the Commodores would not go down without a fight. After a leadoff walk and a single, Vanderbilt had runners on first and second with no outs. On the first pitch to Enrique Bradfield Jr., Davis plunked him, loading the bases but now with two outs. Davis dug down and got out of the jam, and Alabama took the series.  

“We always say good teams win most close games, and we’ve been in a bunch of those that haven’t gone our way,” Jackson said. “Today we went out and took it and made it happen for us. That’s a really good series win, so I was definitely proud of our guys.” 

The Crimson Tide took two out of three against the best team in the SEC at Sewell-Thomas Stadium and shined in Jackson’s first series at the helm. With the series win, Alabama won its first series against the Commodores since 2012.  

Next on the schedule, Alabama has a midweek game against Troy on May 9 in Montgomery’s Riverwalk Stadium. First pitch is at 6 p.m. CT.