TUSCALOOSA, Ala. - The White team scored three times in the top of the seventh inning to overcome a one-run deficit en route to a 9-7 comeback win over the Gray team in the Alabama Baseball Fall World Series Thursday afternoon at Sewell-Thomas Stadium.
The Crimson Tide scored 16 runs and tallied 24 hits in the eight-inning scrimmage, including three home runs from senior first baseman Clay Jones, junior outfielder David Kindred and junior catcher Chris Smelley.
“I was real pleased offensively,” Alabama head coach Mitch Gaspard said. “We continue to do the things that we want to do as far as pressuring the defense and really what we feel like the offense can do. Put a lot of pressure on the defense and drive the stake in your heart with a home run here and there. Overall, I was real pleased on that side.”
Alabama used eight pitchers on Thursday, including seven that have never seen game action for the Crimson Tide. The Gray team used two freshmen (Trey Pilkington and Brett Booth) and two redshirt freshman (Kelby Deerman and Troy Sutherland). The White team used four pitchers, including junior Nathan Kilcrease, who was the lone hurler on Thursday to have game action at Alabama. Also pitching for the White team was freshman Tucker Hawley, redshirt sophomore James Tullidge and junior college transfer Brett Whitaker.
“Pitching-wise, I thought some of the guys that came into the game did a good job,” Gaspard said. “We threw some freshman today and they are learning. In this league, you can make good pitches and you’re not rewarded for them all the time. It’s just a learning process on the mound and we’ve got to continue to get better each day and the guys are working real hard to do that, but we’ve had nice leadership over the last six weeks of the fall season. The key component for our entire fall has been our energy and our effort all day. We are real pleased with that.”
Kilcrease was the winning pitcher for the White team, while Whitaker earned the save. Sutherland was charged with the loss.
Smelley had two hits and knocked in four runs and played a vital role in the White team’s come-from-behind win on Thursday. He smacked a game-tying, two-run home run in the fifth inning, then plated the tying run when he reached on an error in the seventh inning. He later scored what proved to be the winning run on senior catcher Cody Trotter’s single to right field.
The White team scored first with two runs in the top of the first inning on back-to-back two-out singles by Whitaker and Smelley.
The Gray team scored four runs in the first inning and two more in the second inning to take a 6-4 lead. Junior shortstop Josh Rutledge had an RBI single and Jones ripped a two-run double to left to highlight the four-run first inning.
The White team answered with two more runs in the second inning to tie the game at 4-4. Kindred hit a solo home run and sophomore Jon Kelton added an RBI single.
Again, the Gray team responded, scoring two more runs in the bottom of the frame to take a 6-4 lead. Rutledge plated a run with an infield ground out and Jones slapped a solo home run down the right field line.
Smelley hit his game-tying, two-run home run with one out in the fifth inning to even the score at 6-6. Whitaker, who drew a one out walk, scored on the home run.
Sophomore center fielder Taylor Dugas, who had four hits and scored two runs, put the Gray team back in front at 7-6 with a two-out single in the bottom of the fifth inning. Junior Brock Bennett led off the inning with a double and scored on Dugas’ two-out single to center.
Kelton and Kindred had three hits each for the Gray team, while Smelley led the way with four RBI.
Dugas led the White team with four hits, while Jones added three hits and three RBI.