May 15, 2019 10:37:43 AM
TUSCALOOSA, Ala. - A two-run home run from Joe Breaux powered Alabama baseball to a 4-2 win over Samford on Tuesday evening at Sewell-Thomas Stadium. The win helps the Crimson Tide complete the season sweep of Samford and improves UA to 30-23 overall, including a final mark of 23-3 in non-conference action during the regular season.
"This was an awesome win for us tonight, and I'm really proud of our team for their collective effort," said Alabama head coach Brad Bohannon. "The pitching was outstanding. I thought Garret (Rukes) got us off to a good start. Obviously, the bullpen was just awesome with six shutout innings. We had some good defensive plays, highlighted by Joe (Breaux) making that diving catch out there. The quality of our at-bats after the first inning weren't great, but the guys kept grinding and busted it open late."
Samford was first on the board on Tuesday, using a pair of solo home runs in the third to take a 2-0 lead. The two teams then went scoreless until the seventh when Alabama got its first run. A sharp liner to second gave Kolby Robinson a leadoff single and a wild pitch moved the junior shortstop into scoring position. Then, with two down, a wild pitch got lost behind home plate, allowing Robinson to come all the way around from second to cut the lead in half at 2-1.
Alabama then took the lead in the eighth. On a popup from Tyler Gentry that went into no-man's land behind the mound, the sophomore hustled out of the box to make it to second with the ball going uncaught. A single in the next at-bat from freshman Drew Williamson put runners on the corners for T.J. Reeves. The freshman delivered on the opportunity, sending a sacrifice fly to center to even things up at two apiece.
"I was really pleased with the hustle plays - Kolby (Robinson) scoring from second on a wild pitch, and then Tyler (Gentry) on the popup in the infield, he just hustled right out of the box," Bohannon added. "It's very rare in our game that you get rewarded for doing things the right way, and it was really nice to see those two guys on our team get rewarded for playing so hard."
One batter later, Breaux sent a ball over the visitor's bullpen in right-center for the go-ahead, two-run home run to give the Crimson Tide the lead. The senior's home run came in his last at-bat at The Joe. The bullpen continued its dominance in the ninth, with graduate Jeremy Randolph shutting the Bulldogs down in order 1-2-3 to push the Crimson Tide to 30 wins on the season for the first time since 2016.
Randolph (3-2) got the win thanks to 1.1 scoreless frames highlighted by three strikeouts. The graduate followed a threesome of relievers in junior Casey Cobb, freshman Jacob McNairy and redshirt junior Kyle Cameron, who all combined to limit Samford to only two hits through 6.0 frames. Breaux tied for the team lead in hits with a 2-for-4 evening that included a team-high two RBI to go with a run scored. Also contributing two hits was junior Brett Auerbach who finished 2-for-4.
Next up for Alabama is a trip to Athens to square off with sixth-ranked Georgia from Thursday through Saturday. The Crimson Tide and Bulldogs are scheduled for a 6 p.m. CT first pitch in games one and two followed by a 1 p.m. CT start in the series finale on Saturday. Fans can catch all three games live on SEC Network+.