TUSCALOOSA, Ala. - Both Kenny Roberts and Austen Smith smoked three-run home runs in the sixth inning as the No. 22-ranked Alabama Crimson Tide posted a non-conference victory over the Southeastern Louisiana Lions, 9-1, on Tuesday night from Sewell-Thomas Stadium.p>
"I thought for starters on the mound, Tucker [Hawley] gave us a good start and the bullpen came in and did a nice job," Alabama head coach Mitch Gaspard said. "We had some guys that we wanted to get some work in and they all did a pretty solid job. Offensively, we kind of sputtered there for about five innings and it was big with two outs there, Miller starts us out with a walk, [Georgie] Salem gets a single and then Kenny Roberts gets the big three-run blow and we follow it up with another three-run homer. You don't see that as often as you used to - back-to-back three run homers in the same inning. That was good to see and then from there I thought the offense got going and was much better in the back end of the game."
Although the Lions took a 1-0 lead in the top of the sixth, it did not last long. With two outs in the bottom of the sixth, Andrew Miller worked a walk then Georgie Salem stroked a base hit to put runners on the corners. Senior third baseman Kenny Roberts swung at the third pitch he saw and sent a firecracker over the left field wall for his first home run of the season. Not to be out done, junior first baseman Austen Smith clubbed his team-leading third home run over the year into the trees in left field to score Ben Moore and Brett Booth. The two three-run home runs with two outs in the sixth staked the Tide to an insurmountable, 6-1, advantage.
The home runs by Roberts and Smith mark the first time the Crimson Tide had two home runs in the same inning since Taylor Dugas, Jake Smith and Jon Kelton stroked one each in the first inning of an NCAA regional matchup versus Georgia Tech on June 6, 2010.
Roberts finished the day 2-for-4 with his home run, a single, three RBI and a run scored. Miller had an RBI-single, a walk and a run scored, and freshman center fielder Georgie Salem had two singles, an RBI and a run scored.
Freshman right-hander Mike Oczypok (1-0) notched the first win of his career after striking out two in a one-run sixth inning. Junior righty Tucker Hawley did not factor into the decision in his fourth start of the season, but dealt five scoreless innings and allowed five hits and two walks with two strikeouts. Kyle Cedotal (4-4) was charged with the loss for the Lions after giving up three runs on five hits in 5.2 innings pitched.
The Lions got their first three hits off of Hawley in the fourth inning, but a nice pickoff at first and Brett Booth's 21st runner thrown out of the year prevented any damage. After Oczypok relieved Hawley in the sixth, he allowed a double from Aaron Haag and an RBI-single by Jameson Fisher with two outs to give the Lions the first lead of the game, 1-0.
Following their six run performance in the sixth, the Tide offense provided some insurance runs in the seventh. Consecutive free passes to freshman shortstop Mikey White and freshman pinch-hitter Daniel Cucjen set up a Miller RBI single. Salem hit an RBI single in the next at-bat, and Miller eventually scored when Roberts grounded into a double play, ending the inning with a 9-1 lead.
After Oczypok's appearance in the sixth, sophomore south paw Justin Kamplain, freshman righty Mitch Greer and freshman right-hander Ray Castillo all threw a scoreless inning to seal the win for the Tide.
The Alabama Crimson Tide returns to action on Thursday for a key home series versus the ninth-ranked Arkansas Razorbacks. First pitch is set for 7:05 p.m. CT and will be televised on ESPNU. Friday's game is set for a 6:35 p.m. CT start, and the final game on Saturday will kick off at 1:05 p.m. CT.