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Alabama baseball team rallies to beat New Mexico State


From Special Reports



TUSCALOOSA, Ala. -- The Alabama baseball team used a three-run seventh inning to beat New Mexico State 5-2 Saturday at Sewell-Thomas Stadium. 


With the win, the Crimson Tide moves to 13-3. 


"It was a tough day to score," Alabama coach Brad Bohannon said. "Compliments to their starter (Jonathan Groff), who did a great job of throwing strikes. He had a good changeup and threw all three pitches for strikes. I was proud of our kids. We grinded through it. We didn't get a hit until the fifth inning but the feeling in the dugout was still positive. Our kids didn't press or panic, and we were able to bust through and win the game." 


Chandler Avant went 3-for-4 with a career-high three doubles to go along with his team-leading two runs scored and two RBIs. Jett Manning had two RBIs. 


Davis Vainer (2-0) went a career-long four innings. The right-hander allowed one run on three hits and a walk while striking out three. Dylan Duarte pitched the final inning to earn his second save. 


n On Friday, Alabama splits a doubleheader with New Mexico State. New Mexico State won 3-0 in Game 1. Alabama took Game 2 3-1. 


"The first six innings of the first game, offensively, I didn't think that our at-bats were very good, and I didn't think we were very focused," said Alabama coach Brad Bohannon. "Once New Mexico State put up the two runs in the seventh, the last three innings, we competed and focused really well. We just didn't get enough hits and make enough plays. 


"In Game 2, we competed and played well. Their starter (Kyle Bradish), he could pitch for anybody -- Florida, TCU, Texas Tech, you name it. It was a good challenge, and we did a good job of pitch-counting him in the sixth inning. I thought our kids competed well in the second game to help us get the win." 


Justin Dehn (2-1) limited Alabama to four hits in 7 2/3 innings in the opener. He walked two and struck out five. Brock Whittlesey pitched the final 1 1/3 innings for his first save. 


Alabama starter Sam Finnerty (2-1) ran into trouble in the top of the seventh. With one down, a hit by pitch followed by back-to-back singles helped New Mexico State score its first run and ended Finnerty's afternoon. A single in the next at-bat brought across one more to make it a 2-0. 


The Aggies added a third run in the top of the eighth to take the 3-0 lead. 


In Game 2, starter Jake Walters grinded out 5 1/3 innings of one-run baseball. He allowed four hits and five walks. He struck out five. 


Freshman Brock Guffey and sophomore Deacon Medders threw the final 3 2/3 innings. Medders earned his second save thanks to three innings. 


The bullpen's standout effort marked the seventh game this season that Crimson Tide relievers haven't allowed a run. 


Cody Henry and Keith Holcombe had a hit and an RBI for Alabama, which had only four hits. Hunter Alexander and Chandler Taylor also had hits. 


n Wallner's home run in ninth lifts No. 15 Southern Mississippi: At Hattiesburg, Matt Wallner picked a perfect moment to park his first home run of the season. 


Wallner followed a walk to third baseman Luke Reynolds with a towering fly ball over the left-field fence in the bottom of the ninth inning Saturday to give No. 15 Southern Miss a 3-2 victory against Georgia Southern at Pete Taylor Park. 


Wallner's shot gave No. 15 USM (10-4) a walk-off victory for a second-consecutive day against the Eagles (7-8). 


On Friday, a bases-loaded, one-hopper off the left-field wall in the bottom of the 10th by first baseman Hunter Slater gave Southern Miss a 4-3 victory. 


On Saturday, the Golden Eagles' comeback came moments after Georgia Southern had scored twice with one out in the top of the ninth to take a 2-1 lead. 


GS catcher Matt Anderson singled off reliever Keller Bradford to start the ninth. Anderson moved to second on a bunt, and Bradford was lifted in favor of Jacob Wright. 


Georgia Southern starter Seth Shuman walked Reynolds on five pitches to open the bottom of the ninth. Wallner took the next pitch the opposite way for the game-winning homer. 


Jacob Wierich (2-0) recorded the final two outs in the top of the ninth. 


Southern Miss starter Stevie Powers pitched 6 1/3 scoreless innings. It was the longest outing of his career. He allowed six hits and walked one. He struck out a career-high 10. 


n No. 12 Ole Miss sweeps Eastern Illinois in doubleheader: At Oxford, the No. 12 Ole Miss baseball team beat Eastern Illinois 7-2 and 4-0 Friday. 


Ryan Rolison (3-1) and Brady Feigl (4-0) earned wins as the weekend starters recorded almost identical boxscores by going seven innings and striking out at least seven. 


The Rebels and the Panthers had 14 hits on the day. Jacob Adams hit his first home run and led the team in hits, while Thomas Dillard added a home run and scored four runs on the day. 


Adams had two hits in the first game and was the only Rebel with multiple hits. Former New Hope High School standout Will Golsan added an RBI, while Chase Cockrell had two. 


Rolison allowed six hits and two runs. He walked three and struck out eight. Austin Miller struck out four in two hitless innings. 


In Game 2, Golsan had a hit and two RBIs. Feigl scattered eight hits and struck out seven in his seven-inning stint. Will Ethridge pitched the final two innings for his second save. 


Ole Miss (14-1) and Eastern Illinois will wrap up the three-game series at 1:30 p.m. today.



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