If Brett Booth had not clubbed an eighth inning home run, it is likely that Alabama would have scored only nine runs against Troy Wednesday night. On the other hand, if Booth had not hit into three double plays and lined out with a man on, the Tide might have scored 15 or 20 runs.
As it turned out, Alabama’s offense provided 11 runs on 13 hits, more than enough for an 11-2 win over 25th-ranked Troy at Sewell-Thomas Stadium Wednesday night.
Alabama’s sophomore tandem of Taylor Guilbeau and Jay Shaw combined to allow one run in eight innings and freshman Ray Castillo finished it off in the ninth, although he allowed a meaningless home run.
The win boosts Alabama’s record to 29-21 overall and to 7-3 versus in-state opponents, and the loss drops the Trojans to 35-13.
The Crimson Tide plays its final series at Sewell-Thomas this weekend when Bama hosts Missouri in three Southeastern Conference gamesFirst pitch is slated for 6:35 p.m. CDT on Friday, 1:05 p.m. on Saturday, and wraps up with a 1:05 start on Sunday.
“It was really just a well-played game on all phases,” Alabama Coach Mitch Gaspard said. “It always starts on the mound. I thought Taylor Guilbeau gave us good first five innings against a really good offensive team. You saw some flurries there early in what they can do through the middle of their lineup. Taylor and Jay Shaw played outstanding. I think that’s eight or nine scoreless innings of ball for him (Jay Shaw) now. It was good to see Ray (Castillo) come back out and get a little confidence booster. I know they hit the long ball, but still, the velocity was really good and he threw the ball down. Defensively, we made plays. I thought Andrew (Miller) made some key plays for us in left field.”
Taylor Guilbeau (4-1) earned the win in his sixth start and 14th appearance of the year for the Tide, allowing only one run on seven hits in five innings. The left-hander’s fourth win of the season moved him into a five-way tie for the team lead. Sophomore righty Jay Shaw made his 10th appearance of the season, blanking the Trojans for three innings with only two hits allowed and a punch out. After his performance, Shaw’s ERA sits at 1.62 for the season after throwing nine straight scoreless innings.
The Trojans’ Thomas Austin (2-1) was charged with his first loss of the year after relieving starter Jeremy McGowan early. Austin lasted 3 2/3 innings and allowed three runs on four hits and two walks with three strikeouts.
Right fielder Ben Moore turned in a 3-for-5 performance that included a double, two singles, a run scored, three runs batted in, and his 16th stolen base of the season. The sophomore continues to pace the Tide in stolen bases and moves into a tie for third place in the SEC.
Senior third baseman Kenny Roberts had a 3-for-5 game with his third home run of the season, two singles, two RBI and two runs scored. Freshman second baseman Kyle Overstreet, 2-for-3 with a pair of singles, two walks, and a run batted in; freshman center fielder Georgie Salem, a 2-for-3 day with a couple of singles, two walks, a stolen base and two runs scored; and junior first baseman Austen Smith, a 1-for-2 effort with a double, a trio of walks and two RBI were the offensive leaders.
“Offensively, we were really good which we’re starting to see now,” Gaspard said. “In the last couple of weeks there has been some power start to show up in guys and starting to split some gaps. Timing couldn’t be better right now to start seeing extra base-hits come down."
The Trojans struck quickly in the first, sparked by Tyler Vaughn reaching to lead off the game. Guilbeau sat down the next two batters, but Vaughn advanced to third on a passed ball and a wild pitch. Trae Santos finished off the inning with a double to center to plate Vaughn and give Troy an early 1-0 lead. Vaughn was 3-for-4 on the night to lead the Trojans’ offense.
The Tide lineup came right back and answered in the bottom of the frame. The Tide got players to reach base consecutively on a Salem single up the middle, an Overstreet walk and a Moore single to center. With the bases loaded, Smith worked a walk to force in Salem and tie the game at one.
Roberts went yard on the first pitch he saw to take the lead and spark the Alabama lineup in the third inning. After Roberts’ third home run of the season, Salem reached on a walk and stole second to get in scoring position. Overstreet took a count to 1-2 and drove the fourth offering deep to left center to score Salem and cap off the inning with a 3-1 advantage.
Alabama continued to get contributions from all over the lineup in the fourth. After the first two batters were retired, Ryan Blanchard was hit by a pitch. With a well-executed hit and run, Blanchard was able to round the bases on a Roberts single up the middle and reach home plate to make it a 4-1 game.
The bats gave Troy’s third pitcher of the night a warm welcome when they started another rally in his appearance in the fifth inning. Moore got things started with a single to right center on a 0-1 count and swiped second to set up in scoring position. After a Mikey White walk, Andrew Miller singled through the right side to get Moore home from second and stretch the margin to 5-1.
The Trojans made another pitching change in the bottom of the eighth and the Tide bats heated up for one of their biggest innings of the year. After Alabama’s first two batters were retired, Roberts got the wheels in motion with a single into right field. Salem and Overstreet both worked full counts for walks in back-to-back at-bats to load the bases. Moore swung at the first pitch he saw and doubled to the warning track in left center, bringing all three runners home for an 8-1 lead. A Smith double to right center brought Moore home and Brett Booth’s fifth home run of the season into the trees behind the left field wall padded the lead to 11-1.
Prior to the homer, it had been a rough night for Booth. With bases loaded and one out in the first, he hit into a 4-6-3 double play. With men at first and third and one out in the third he hit into a 6-4-3 double play. In the seventh with one on and no outs, he hit into another 6-4-3 double play. And in the fifth with a man on, he lined out.
The Trojans managed to push one across the plate on a Matthew Howard solo shot with two outs in the ninth, but Castillo got a ground out on the next batter to finish off an 11-2 win.