Alabama opened its renovated ballpark for the season
opener Friday night against Maryland, and the Crimson Tide won a close matchup 3-1 thanks in part to one play in the game that might have been the difference.
In the top of the seventh, Alabama had just grabbed a 2-1
lead in after an RBI single from Chandler Taylor the previous inning. It was now
Maryland’s turn to respond. Zach Jancarski was leading off for Maryland, and he had
the lone RBI for the Terrapins with a bases-loaded walk in the second inning.
Jancarski hit a hard chopper up the middle that looked like
it would poke through, but Chandler Avant was able to extend and grab it on the run. His
throw on the run was off the mark and skipped past first baseman Cody Henry. Jancarski
took off as soon as he saw the ball pass Henry. Catcher Will Haynie was
sprinting to back up first though, and was there to grab the errant throw. Jancarski
slid head first, but was gunned out by Haynie with Cobie Vance applying the tag.
“That’s that kind of energy we are
talking about. Rather than being lazy getting to first, he busted his tail getting
there, and he was in the right spot,” coach Mitch Gaspard said. “That was a big
play, a real good play in the game.”
This play was a game-changer. Instead of a leadoff double
with no one out, Alabama had an out with no runners on. The next Maryland
batter, Madison Nickens, singled, which would have brought Jancarski in and
tied the game. Instead, relief pitcher Jon Keller was able to get out of the
inning without any scratches.
In the bottom of inning, Alabama carried the momentum and added
an insurance run off the bat of Chandler Avant, and in the end won 3-1.
Source:: The Crimson White Sports