HOOVER, Ala. - Alabama baseball advanced to the double-elimination portion of the 2022 Southeastern Conference Baseball Tournament with a 5-3 win over Georgia on a long Tuesday at Hoover Metropolitan Stadium. The win moves the Crimson Tide to 30-25 on the season.
First pitch between the Tide and Bulldogs was delayed by 35 minutes before the game finally got underway at 10:05 a.m. CT. The two teams got through only 2.5 innings with Alabama leading 5-1 before entering a second rain delay that lasted just over two hours.
The long break forced an early exit from Garrett McMillan with the Tide starter contributing 2.0 frames. Ben Hess (3-1) took the mound after the delay and dominated. The freshman allowed just one hit and one walk while striking out an Alabama season-high 10 batters in his 4.1 relief frames for the win. Following Hess' exit, the Bulldogs were able to add two more runs before Dylan Ray came in for the ninth, shutting down UGA in order for his seventh save of the season and the 5-3 final.
From Head Coach Brad Bohannon
"I'm really proud of our club. Obviously, it was a do-or-die day for us, and I'm really proud of the way they came out. You could tell that our kids were really excited today and came out hot. It was tough after the rain delay for both teams. How about Ben Hess? Sitting there for two hours, didn't even know if he was going to pitch today, and he comes out and punches out seven of the first eight guys. So, I'm really proud of our team and excited that we get to stick around for a little while.
How It Happened
T1 | Caden Rose started the game off with a double. He came home in the next at-bat thanks to an RBI-single from Andrew Pinckney. Pinckney proceeded to steal second before moving to third on an infield groundout. Tamez followed with a walk to put runners on the corners before a flyout in foul territory allowed Pinckney to tag home and Tamez to head to second. Zane Denton then came through with a two-out single to left to score Tamez for the Tide's third run. (3-0, Alabama)
T2 | The Tide loaded the bases with two down for Drew Williamson. A wild pitch in Williamson's at-bat allowed Pinckney to score from third for the first run, with Williamson then sending a sacrifice fly to center to cross one more. (5-0, Alabama)
B2 | Parks Harber hammered a ball over the wall in right for a solo home run. (5-1, Alabama)
B8 | Connor Tate recorded a two-run home run to narrow the gap. (5-3, Alabama)
- Game One of the SEC Tournament featured two separate delays. First pitch was pushed back by 35 minutes due to rain. The game was then delayed for 2:06 after the final out of the top of the third.
- Alabama combined for a season-high 17 strikeouts on the day.
- The Tide pitchers have struck out 10-plus batters in 27 games this season.
- Ben Hess struck out 10 in his relief outing, the most by any Alabama pitcher this season. The Tide's previous team-high total was nine from Garrett McMillan in his start against Texas A&M on April 1.
- Hess' 4.1 relief innings are the most by an Alabama reliever this season. The previous high was 4.0 frames, which happened twice this season, most recently from Brock Guffey against LSU on May 5.
- Caden Rose has reached base safely in 15 straight games dating back to April 25 against Georgia.
- Jim Jarvis has reached base in 13 straight games dating back to April 28 at South Carolina. Drew Williamson's hitting streak came to an end at eight games. Over the streak, the senior is batting .345 (10-29) with a double, one home run, five RBI, 10 runs scored, six walks and a hit-by-pitch.
Alabama will now square off with 10th-ranked and third-seeded Arkansas in round two of the SEC Tournament on Wednesday morning. The game will air on SEC Network with first pitch tentatively scheduled for 10:30 a.m. ET.