TUSCALOOSA, Ala. – Alabama’s Zane Denton hit a one-out, solo home run in the bottom of the ninth inning to break a 3-3 tie and give the 25th-ranked Crimson Tide a 4-3 walk-off win over McNeese in game two of a baseball series on Saturday.
Denton’s hit spoiled a terrific outing by the Cowboys (0-2) who built a 3-0 lead after six innings.
“This game will break your heart sometimes and today was one of those days,” said McNeese head coach Justin Hill. “I’m really proud of how we competed.”
McNeese got some strong pitching from starter Ty Abraham (4 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 2 K) and relievers Bryson Hudgens (3 IP, 2 H, 1 R, 3 K) and Kevin Roliard (1.1 IP, 3 H, 3 R, 1 K) but Alabama (2-0) got the big hits when needed.
Crimson Tide right fielder Owen Diodati tied the game at 3-3 on a two-run home run in the bottom of the eighth inning, leading to Denton’s game winner in the ninth.
The Cowboys threatened to retake the lead in the top of the ninth when Nate Fisbeck reached after getting hit by a pitch with one out in the frame. Clayton Rasbeary, who had three of the Cowboys’ five hits on the day, singled to the left-center side of the field as Fisbeck advanced to third.
Tre Obregron then hit a hard liner to right field for the second out, and with Fisbeck tagging on the play, he was thrown out in a very close play that required the umpires to go to the replay, where the out was upheld and ended the frame.
“We were on the wrong side of a couple of bang-bang plays and that was the difference in today’s game,” said Hill. “I thought we pitched well, played great defense and battled against some really good arms. If we keep that up, we will win a lot more games than we lose.
“Today’s result was tough but this group will keep coming.”
McNeese broke a 0-0 tie in the top of the fifth inning after Rasbeary hit a one-out single then scored on an Obregon RBI double to make it 1-0.
The lead grew to 3-0 in the sixth with two runs coming on a two-out double by Fisbeck that scored Payton Harden and Reid Bourque.
Alabama got its first run in the seventh inning on an RBI single by Denton to close the McNeese lead to 3-1.
Alabama held a 7-5 advantage in the hits department with two extra-base hits, both home runs.
Roliard (0-1) took the loss for the Cowboys while Chase Lee (1-0) picked up the win for the Crimson Tide after he threw a scoreless ninth inning.
Christian Vega, a right-handed redshirt sophomore, is expected to get the start on the mound for the Cowboys in Sunday’s finale.