TUSCALOOSA, Ala. – A home run by third-baseman Zane Denton, lifted No. 25 Alabama baseball over McNeese State 4-3 Saturday afternoon at Sewell-Thomas Stadium.
“What a great game – a great day – for both teams,” Alabama coach Brad Bohannon said after the game. “I thought McNeese played a great game. I mean, there were web gems all over the field, and they made us earn everything we got.”
While Alabama’s pitching remained consistent throughout the game, Crimson Tide’s bats were relatively quiet throughout the first six innings of the game.
Both sides remained pointless through the first four innings. On top of the fifth, McNeese State redshirt junior catcher Tre Obregon III doubled to right center field, bringing redshirt senior right fielder Clayton Rasbeary home for the first run of the game.
A lap later at the top of the sixth, the Cowboys added two more runs when redshirt senior second baseman Nate Fisbeck hit a two-out double down the right field line to bring in runners from the first and second.
“I thought we squared some balls up the first few innings and just were not rewarded for it and they did not hit us, they did not hit us, they defended the court and it is a very good lesson for our boys,” said Bohannon. “Sometimes you have to play from behind, sometimes in the short term the ball will not bounce.”
Crimson Tide were finally able to get on the board at the bottom of the seventh when Denton pointed out the middle, bringing second-year left-back William Hamiter home.
On his way into the last two bats, Denton remembered after the match that the feeling in the excavation was a bit tired.
“The energy was definitely down a bit,” Denton said. “They had good pitching earlier in the day, but I knew that when we got a run, the momentum would change a bit, and of course Diodati’s home run gave us a lot of speed. I just tried to do what I could.”
A lap later at the bottom of the eighth, midfielder Owen Diodati smashed a two-run home run across the field wall to the right to tie the match to three runs apiece.
At the bottom of the ninth, Denton once again came into the clutch for Crimson Tide, hitting an outstanding solo home run to give Alabama the 4-3 victory.
On the day, Denton beat three against four with one run and two RBIs.
“[Denton’s] a guy we’re always believed in, “said Bohannon. We really liked him in the recruitment process and played him last year a little more maybe than he was ready for.
“He is a very good player and just very happy for him.”
Sophomore starting left-handed pitcher Antoine Jean threw a solid first three innings for Alabama, allowing no runs and just one hit. Jean also struck out four strokes and had four rounds.
Chase Lee (1-0) was credited with the victory after coming out of the bullpen in the ninth to close the game. Lee faced four strokes, allowed one hit and no runs.
Kevin Roliard (0-1) was saddled with the loss to McNeese State.
Alabama goes to 2-0 on the season with the win while McNeese State falls to 0-2.
The Crimson Tide and the Cowboys will end the three-game series on Sunday (13:00 CT, SEC Network +).
This story will be updated with video when it is received.