Alabama trailed 2-1 going to the eighth inning and was able to send the game to an extra inning on the strength of Kyle Overstreet’s first career home run. The shot cleared the left field fence. Two innings later, Overstreet singled up the middle to start the 10th inning rally and scored from second with the winning run on Wass’s single through the left side.
It was the second time this year that Wass had delivered a walk-off game-winning hit. It was also the second extra inning game of the series. In the 10th inning, Overstreet’s single was followed by Wade Blanchard’s single up the middle, setting the scene for Wass. Wass was batting for Chance Vincent, who had come in to play first base after Austin Smith was lifted for a pinch runner in the ninth inning.
Jon Keller (2-0) picked up the win in the longest relief outing of his career, striking out six in five scoreless innings, and allowing two hits and one walk. Ray Castillo went five innings as the starter, allowing two runs (one earned) on five hits with four strikeouts.
Alabama, ranked 21st in the nation, returns to action on Tuesday against the Southern Mississippi Golden Eagles, with first pitch set for 6 p.m. CST. Next weekend Bama will have its first road experience of the season at Louisiana in Lafayette. The teams will play a three-game series, Friday through Sunday.
Crimson Tide Coach Mitch Gaspard said, “Offensively, I thought we put some good swings on the ball early in the game, but nothing really happened for us. Later in the game, we just grinded. Overstreet hit the big home run, and then Wass delivered the game-winning hit. We need to take the momentum we have now into next week, which is going to be a real tough week for us on the road.”
“On the pitching end of it, I was really encouraged by (starting pitcher) Ray (Castillo),” Gaspard said. “Coming off last week, it was good to see him sharp. He had a pretty clean five innings. As for (Jon) Keller, he repeated what he did last weekend out of the bullpen. He was super sharp. He pitched in some big spots. It was huge to keep them to one run in the sixth when they had the bases loaded and nobody out.”
Both Overstreet and Hunter Webb had their first multi-hit games of the season. Webb had a single and a double. Austen Smith also had two hits, both singles.
Kevin Bishop (0-2) was charged with the loss in relief of starter Dillon Mangham. Mangham pitched all nine regulation innings for the Lumberjacks, giving up two runs (one earned) on eight hits and three walks with six strikeouts. Bishop came on in relief in the 10th and gave up the three hits and the winning Bama run.
After reaching second on a misplayed fly ball in left, the Lumberjacks’ Ricardo Sanchez was bunted over to third and crossed home plate on a groundout to open the scoring in the fourth. However, Alabama got the run right back, as Georgie Salem singled through the right side to plate Webb in the next inning.
In the sixth, the Lumberjacks got three consecutive singles from Matthew Dickey, Sanchez, and Joseph Olson. The Tide then went to the bullpen for Keller, who got two strikeouts and a pop out, but surrendered a bases loaded walk to pinch hitter Zach Marberry to put the Lumberjacks up 2-1, where it stayed until Overstreet’s eighth-inning homer.
Alabama Game Notes
Alabama’s starting lineup included three freshmen, the most of any game this season. Will Haynie was at catcher, Casey Hughston in left field, and Webb as designated hitter.
Georgie Salem went 1-for-4 Sunday to finish the series with a total of eight hits, the most for a three-game series in his career, and the most among Alabama position players this season.
With his first inning single, Mikey White has reached base in a team-high seven straight games.
Overstreet’s two key hits, the game-tying homer and the single that resulted in him scoring the winning run, gave him 18 career multi-hit games.
Keller pitched the final five innings in relief to earn the win, his longest outing since April 5, 2013 vs. Arkansas, and the longest relief outing of his career.
Keller has now pitched nine consecutive scoreless innings this season.