TUSCALOOSA, Alabama -- Troy University scored three runs in the 12th inning, its second, three-run inning of the game, to post a 7-5 come-from-behind win over the No. 20 University of Alabama baseball team in a frigid Wednesday afternoon at Sewell-Thomas Stadium.
Troy (2-2) had tied the game with a three-run eighth inning to force extra innings.
The Trojans then snapped a 4-4 tie with three runs in the 12th inning of losing pitcher Josh Copeland. Josh Dew drew a one-out walk and moved into scoring position on Clint Robinson’s single through the left side of the infield. Second baseman Edgar Ramirez then rapped an RBI single to right to score Dew to give the Trojans their first lead of the game at 5-4.
Matt Tanzi and Steven Felix then plated key insurance runs for the Trojans after Ramirez game-winning single. Tanzi’s sacrifice fly to right scored pinch-runner Grant Luke and Felix’s RBI double into the right-field corner scored Ramirez as Troy took a 7-4 lead into the bottom of the 12th.
Alabama (3-1) did not go quietly in the bottom of the 12th as the Crimson Tide loaded the bases with one out against Dew, who moved from first base to pitcher in the 11th inning.
Freshman catcher Jared Avchen was hit by a pitch to lead off the inning and senior shortstop Greg Paiml reached on an error by Tanzi at first base. Senior center fielder Emeel Salem reached on a fielder’s choice as Paiml was tagged out at second base by shortstop Charlie Calamia.
Dew then struck Jake Smith before walking senior designated hitter Brandon Belcher to force home Avchen and make it a 7-5 game. Sophomore right fielder Kent Matthes stroked a long fly ball to right field that was caught on the warning track by Daniel Porter to end the game.
Dew (1-0), one of four pitchers used by Troy, allowed one unearned run and one hit in two innings of relief to earn the win for Troy. He walked two and struck out one.
Copeland (0-1), the fifth of six Alabama pitchers in the game, allowed three runs and four hits in 1 2/3 innings to suffer his first loss of the year.
Alabama built a 4-1 lead through seven innings, before Troy tied the game with three runs on four hits in the eighth to force extra innings.
Dew and Robinson stroked back-to-back singles off senior right hander Patrick Kelly and Ramirez doubled to left off junior left-hander Will Stroup. Ramirez two-base hit scored Dew as the Trojans cut the lead to 4-2.
Sophomore right-hander Tommy Hunter came in out of the bullpen with no outs in the eighth inning. Tanzi grounded out to short to score Robinson to cut the lead to 4-3 and then pinch-hitter Bart Pettus looped a single to left to plate Ramirez to tie the game at 4-4.
The Trojans missed a chance to add to the lead in the eighth inning when Matthes leaped over the wall in right field to take an apparent two-run home run away from pinch-hitter Beau Brooks.
Alabama scored single runs in the first, third, fourth and fifth innings to take a 4-1 lead. In the first, Salem drew a leadoff walk, stole second, moved to third on sophomore second baseman Jeff Texada’s ground out and scored on Smith’s RBI single.
Robinson’s solo home run to right off Miers Quigley tied the game for Troy in the second inning.
The Crimson Tide regained the lead in the third inning when Texada drew a two-out walk and scored on Smith’s RBI double into the left-field corner.
Matthes extended the lead to 3-1 in the third inning with an inside-the-park home run that caromed off the top of the wall in left-center field.
Texada and Smith combined for another two-out run in the fifth inning to chase Troy starter Ryan Ellison. Texada drew a two-out walk, stole second and scored on Smith’s RBI single up the middle.
Alabama managed only two hits the remainder of the game against the Trojans bullpen. Troy right-hander Rob Brown retired all 12 batters he faced and recorded four strikeouts to allow the Trojans offense to get back in the game in the eighth inning.
Smith led the Tide offense with three hits and three RBI. Avila had two hits for the Crimson Tide in the loss.
Ramirez and Robinson had three hits each for Troy.
Alabama will host Canisius in a three-game series this weekend at Sewell-Thomas Stadium. The series opener is Friday, Feb. 16 at 6:30 p.m. (CST). The teams will also play Saturday, Feb. 17 at 3 p.m. (CST) and Sunday, Feb. 18 at 11 a.m. (CST).
ALABAMA GAME NOTES:
*Alabama has scored in the first inning in all four games this season.
*Freshman third baseman Jake Smith (Hueytown, Alabama) had three hits and three RBI in the loss to Troy. Through four games, he is batting .467 (7-for-15) with one home run and a team-high six RBI.
*Sophomore right fielder Kent Matthes (Orlando, Fla.) hit his second career home run on Wednesday against Troy. Matthes gave the Crimson Tide a 3-1 lead in the fourth inning with an inside-the-park home run that caromed off the top of the wall in left-center field.
*Matthes’ inside-the-park home run was the first by an Alabama player in 12 years. Dustan Mohr was the last UA player with an inside-the-park home run against Penn State on March 5, 1995.
*Troy scored three runs on four hits in the eighth inning as the Crimson Tide used three pitchers and only threw eight total pitches.
*Sophomore Tommy Hunter (Indianapolis, Ind.) threw three scoreless innings of relief against Troy. The right-hander allowed one hit and struck out four batters in his first relief appearance of the season. He did allow two inherited runners to score as the Trojans tied the game in the eighth inning.