March 11, 2014
TUSCALOOSA, Ala. - Freshman pitcher Nick Eicholtz threw seven dominant innings and Alabama got six RBI from freshmen Will Haynie and Casey Hughston, as the Crimson Tide posted a 12-1 victory over the Samford Bulldogs on Tuesday night at Sewell-Thomas Stadium.
"It was our most complete game tonight," Alabama head coach Mitch Gaspard said. "From the mound, Nick Eichholtz was outstanding and had a good three-pitch mix going. I think he finished up with 12 strikeouts. He was really sharp tonight. In the bullpen, Guilbeau and Burrows did a nice job as well. Defensively, we made some nice plays and kept it clean."
Against a team that came into the game hitting .301, Eicholtz (1-0) tossed seven innings, with a season-high 12 strikeouts while limiting the Bulldogs (11-5) to one run on three hits. The Odessa, Fla. native did not walk a batter and powered his career-best strikeout mark by striking out five of the first six Bulldogs he faced. When Samford scored in the seventh inning, the run snapped a streak of 37 scoreless innings by the Crimson Tide pitching staff.
Haynie belted a two-run home run, the first of his career, and added a two-run double to tally a career-high four RBI. Hughston accounted for the other two RBI by freshmen by posting a pair of RBI singles. The six RBI on Tuesday night marked a season-high for run production by Alabama freshmen in a single game this season.
On his only hit of the night, Chance Vincent picked up a pair of RBI. Kyle Overstreet finished 3-for-4 with a pair of runs scored and Austen Smith reached in all four plate appearances on two singles, a walk and a HBP and he score three runs. Georgie Salem was 1-for-5 with an RBI and a run scored and extended his hit streak to eight games with a single in the fifth.
"The key for us was the offense and when that was going to start showing up," Gaspard said. "Tonight it showed up in a big way. We had a lot of really good at-bats and left the yard with Haynie. It was good to see we extended some innings and got some big hits. Vincent's two out hit was really big there early, but the quality of the at-bats is what we are really looking for. It was a complete game and a dominant game for us tonight."
The Tide jumped out early, scoring three runs in the first two innings for the second time this season. Overstreet and Smith reached on an infield single and a walk, respectively, to start the second. Hughston singled down the right field line to plate Overstreet and Vincent followed with a two-run single to the opposite field for a 3-0 lead.
With Smith on board after a single to third, Haynie blasted his first career home run over the left field wall to put the Tide up, 5-0, after four.
The floodgates opened in the fifth, as the Alabama lineup exploded for six runs. After Overstreet singled for the third straight at-bat with one out, six straight hitters reached for Alabama with two outs. The Tide got RBI singles from Hughston, Salem, Mikey White, and two RBI on a double from Haynie.
Samford managed its run in the top of the seventh, when Brandon Haarer led off with a triple and scored on a sacrifice fly from Parker Curry.
Alabama added one more run in the eighth, when three straight pinch hitters reached base safely. Daniel Cucjen led off with a walk then back-to-back singles by Mathew Goodson and Steven Cole brought Cucjen around to home plate to cap the scoring at 12-1.
The Alabama Crimson Tide kicks off their SEC campaign this weekend with a three-game set against the No. 20 Kentucky Wildcats at Sewell-Thomas Stadium. First pitch is set for 6:35 p.m. on Friday, 6:05 p.m. on Saturday, and 1:05 p.m. on Sunday.
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Alabama Game Notes
In 107 all-time meetings, Alabama is now 92-15 in games played against Samford.
*Alabama head coach Mitch Gaspard moves to 7-3 in his career against the Bulldogs.
*The Crimson Tide improves to 10-0 for the season when scoring three or more runs.
*Alabama is 7-2 when scoring first and 6-0 when leading after six.
*The Tide has won its last six games, a season-high streak, and is 8-2 when playing at Sewell-Thomas Stadium.
*Making his third start in five appearances this year, Nick Eicholtz earned his first career win.
*Eicholtz set a new season-high by striking out 12 batters in his seven innings.
*With 12 strikeouts, Eicholtz tied Justin Kamplain for the most strikeouts by an Alabama pitcher this season.
*Dating back to last Wednesday against Auburn, the Alabama pitching staff held opponents scoreless for 37 straight innings, until being snapped in the top of the seventh inning.
*Mikey White reached base safely for the sixth straight game with a walk and a base hit.
*Chance Vincent recorded his second multi-RBI game of the year, driving in two runs.
*Kyle Overstreet picked up his fifth multiple-hit game of the season and 23 of his career with three singles. It was his second three-hit game of the season and fifth of his career.
*Overstreet has reached base in six straight games.
*Will Haynie hit his first career home run in the fourth inning.
*Haynie extended his hitting streak to five games with his fourth multi-hit and first multi-RBI game of the year.
*In his last five games, Haynie is 10-for-18 (.526) with six RBI (four tonight), two doubles, a home run and six runs scored.
*The six combined RBI between Haynie and Hughston are the most by a pair of freshmen in a game this season.
*Over the past six games, Austen Smith is hitting .556 (10-for-18) with three doubles, eight RBI and six runs scored.
*Smith leads the team with a .362 batting average this season.
*Georgie Salem has now hit in eight straight games. It's the longest of his career and the longest by a Tide player this season.
*With a walk, Daniel Cucjen has reached base in six straight games.
*Freshman reliever Thomas Burrows threw a scoreless ninth inning in his team-high fifth appearance of the season.
*In 8.1 innings this season, Burrows has not allowed a run while posting nine strikeouts. Opponents are also hitting .040 against him this season.
*Alabama freshmen relievers have limited the opposition to one run in 21.2 innings this season to combine for a 0.42 ERA.
*In all situations, Alabama freshmen pitchers boast a 0.93 ERA (four runs in 38.2 innings pitched).