TUSCALOOSA, Ala. —Alabama scored eight runs in the bottom of the first inning en route to a 15-1 shellacking of Tennessee on Sunday.
“We weren’t prepared to come out and play what I thought was a huge game,” UT baseball coach Dave Serrano said. “We weren’t ready on the mound. We gave in when things got tough and I’m very disappointed in that.”
Alabama sophomore right-hander Spencer Turnbull (1-1) picked up his first win of the year in his fifth start, going seven innings with only one run allowed off of nine hits. Jay Shaw and Trey Pilkington each pitched a scoreless inning in relief for the Crimson Tide.
UT starter Andy Cox (1-2) was the losing pitcher after lasting only 2/3 of an inning and allowing five runs. Serrano questioned the team’s effort on the mound.
“I saw a personality that I definitely didn’t like on the mound,” Serrano said. “It was a very timid personality. If the words ‘SEC play’ scares guys, then maybe they shouldn’t have signed up for this. It doesn’t scare me and it’s a wonderful challenge. Like I said to some of the guys, I feel like I have more confidence than they do when I put their names on the lineup card to compete on the mound.”
Tennessee (10-9, 1-2 SEC) actually started out with the lead before Alabama scored 15 straight, scoring in the top of the first inning. Leadoff hitter Will Maddox singled and advanced to second on a sacrifice bunt before Scott Price drove him in with a single to give the Volunteers a 1-0 lead.
Alabama (11-9, 2-1 SEC) responded with its most explosive inning of the year. Kenny Roberts was the first to reach base on a single and advanced to second on a wild pitch. After Ben Moore was walked, Brett Booth started the barrage with an RBI single to right center. Austen Smith followed by reaching on a fielder’s choice and Kyle Overstreet doubled to score another. Cameron Carlisle, Mikey White and Andrew Miller were all hit by pitches in the next three at-bats to force in two more runs.The inning was capped off by Roberts’ two-run double in his second turn in the inning.
“We just didn’t come ready to play,” Maddox said. “We didn’t come out throwing strikes and we didn’t put together good at-bats after the first inning. That’s what happens when you don’t come ready to play.”
Alabama continued its hitting in the second inning. Smith set up another run on a base hit to left field, and advanced to second on a wild pitch. White hit one deep down the left field line for a double, pushing Smith across home plate for a 9-1 lead.
Alabama made wholesale changes to its lineup following the seventh inning with a 12-1 lead — but the hitting continued and Alabama added three more runs off reliever Michael Flax. Eric Martin had the most stable day for UT on the mound, pitching four innings of relief and allowing two runs. Maddox, Taylor Smart and Vincent Jackson each had two hits for Tennessee.