Alabama gives up four home runs in loss to UT Martin

Alabama third baseman Zane Denton swings the bat against Alabama State on Feb. 23.

CW / Davida Franklin

Alabama third baseman Zane Denton swings the bat against Alabama State on Feb. 23.

Austin Hannon, Staff Reporter

The balls were flying out on a sunny day at Sewell-Thomas Stadium in Alabama’s 7-6 loss to the UT Martin Skyhawks Tuesday afternoon.

There were six home runs between the two teams. The Skyhawks sent four over the wall, while the Crimson Tide sent two.

Alabama had convincing performances from several batters. Third baseman Zane Denton hit a two-run home run and finished the game with three RBIs. Dominic Tamez had three hits, including a double. Drew Williamson, Tommy Seidl, Caden Rose and Andrew Pinckney all had two hits. Pinckney hit his first home run of the season.

After a weekend series that saw the Crimson Tide struggle on offense, Tuesday was a solid performance.

The problem was in the pitching that performed so well at No. 1 Texas.

The Skyhawks only accumulated eight hits, but half of them went over the wall.

Hagan Banks started the game on the mound for the Crimson Tide and was great, retiring the first six batters and striking out two. But he only pitched two innings because of a limited workload by Alabama head coach Brad Bohannon.

“Hagan was a little dinged up in the preseason,” Bohannon said. “He’s pitched great both times that he’s pitched this season. He’s just not in shape to go any deeper.”

As soon as Banks was removed from the game, UT Martin immediately found its offense. Crimson Tide right-hander Hunter Ruth walked the first two batters, and the Skyhawks went on to score two runs in the third inning.

Pinckney responded in the bottom half of the inning, sending a deep shot to center field to cut the UT Martin lead in half.

Alabama added more in the bottom of the fifth. After Rose and Pinckney singled to start the inning, shortstop Jim Jarvis hit a sacrifice fly to bring in Rose. Williamson singled in the next at-bat to bring Pinckney home and give the Crimson Tide the 3-2 lead.

After that the home run barrage began. Shortstop Casey Harford and right fielder Wil LaFollette hit back-to-back home runs to put UT Martin back on top in the sixth.

The Skyhawks weren’t done. Third baseman Nate Self homered to left center in the seventh to extend the lead to 5-3.

The seventh-inning stretch brought new life to the Crimson Tide.

After a pitch hit Williamson, Denton stepped up to the plate and sent a rocket to the students in right field to tie the game.

The game was tied only for a short period.

In the top of the ninth, UT Martin catcher Cameron Brady put the exclamation mark on a strong performance with a two-run bomb to left field to give the Skyhawks the cushion they needed.

A sacrifice fly brought Jarvis in to cut the lead to 1 in the bottom of the ninth, but Owen Diodati could do nothing with Tamez on first, and the Crimson Tide lost their fourth game in a row.

“This was a tough loss today,” Bohannon said. “You have got to give a lot of credit to UT Martin. They came out and swung the bats well. I didn’t do a very good job getting us ready to play. We just came off an exciting weekend, and I do not think that our energy level was the same as it had been. When we got behind, it woke our guys up, and we showed some good fight, but we didn’t play well enough to win today.”

Alabama won’t have much time to think about the loss, with the Troy Trojans coming to Tuscaloosa on Wednesday. First pitch is at 3 p.m. CT on SEC Network+.