After the 40 runs scored this weekend, a more appropriate title for the Alabama song should be “Song of the Shox.” The 25 Annual South Alabama Classic took place this weekend in Mobile, Al. Eastern Michigan, North Florida, Wichita State, and South Alabama made up the four team tournament. Games began Friday, and wrapped up this past afternoon with the championship.
The tournament kicked off with Wichita State playing North Florida on Friday. For the Shockers, this would be just a start to their monster weekend. Wichita State scored 3 runs in the first against the Ospreys, and never looked back. They eventually won 14-4 off 4-6 days from Preston Springer and Cody Lassely. Ryan Jones lead the team going 3-5 with 4 RBI. Not bad for the first game of the season.
The home team Jaguars faced off against Eastern Michigan in the night cap. After a 1-1 tie early, the Jags extended their lead to 7-2 in the seventh. However EMU came right back with 3 runs in the eighth to cut the lead to 2 runs. But this didnt phase the Jags, as they scored 4 more runs in the bottom of the eighth to win 11-5. USA seniors Clint Reynolds and Zach Grichor led the Jags at the plate with two hits each. Reynolds went 2-for-4 with one run scored, while Grichor finished 2-for-3 with one RBI, two runs scored and a stolen base.
Saturday brought a new day with the same story for the Shox as they took on Eastern Michigan. The Eagles got on board first with a lead off home run from Ken Battiston off Shocker starter Jordan Cooper. That would be all she wrote for the Eagle offense as far as Cooper was concerned. As with Friday, the Shox came out swinging scoring 3 runs in the 1st, 3 in the 5th, and 4 in the 6th. Ending the day with a 11-1 victory over the Eagles. Shocker hurler Jordan Cooper went six innings allowing 1 run and 6 k’s. Clint Mckeever went 4-5 with 5 RBI, 2 doubles, and a home run for the Shox. Preston Springer went 3-5 with 2 RBI for WSU.
North Florida went into Saturdays game against the hometown Jags looking for some good news. The Ospreys took a 2-1 lead in the top of the sixth on an RBI single by T.J. Thompson that scored Robbie Collier. North Florida starting hurler George Lott left after 7 with 1 earned run and 5 k’s. With him out, the Jag’s scored the games final 3 runs in the bottom of the eighth. Adam Heisier hit an RBI single to score Clint Reynolds for the win. Jaguar third baseman Jake Overstreet went 3-4 with a double and a run to lead USA to the championship game.
High noon on Sunday brought the championship game for the 25 Annual South Alabama Classic with South Alabama vs Wichita State. The fans at Stanky Field got a southern slug fest with walks and long balls being the theme of the day. Wichita State started off the game the same way they did all weekend. Birthday boy Tyler Bennett hit a two out two run double to left center to give the Shox the lead. Both runs came from previous walks off USA starter Jarrett Bailey. Shocker starting hurler Charlie Lowell gave out his own free passes with back to back walks in the bottom of the first. However he only allowed 1 run off a hard single to center from USA’s Sean Laird.
The back and forth ping pong game continued in the top of the second with a home run from Shocker catcher Cody Lassely. Will Baez and Ryan Jones doubles combined with Preston Springer’s 2 run homer in the fourth pushed the Shocker lead to 9-1. Taylor White and Brad Hammoc singles brought the Jags to within 5 after four. This marked the end of the day for Shocker hurler Charlie Lowell. Jags cut the lead again in the sixth off reliever Grant Muncrief to make the score 9-5.
The Shox extended their lead late with home runs from Clint Mckeever and Cody Lassely making the score 15-6. USA down by nine didnt give up though. Their ninth inning rally fell short however with only 4 runs. Wichita State won with a final score of 15-10 giving them the championship for the 25 Annual South Alabama Classic. Both teams combined for 15 walks on the day. Wichita State hit four long balls on the day. WSU DH Preston Springer was named tournament MVP going 2-3 with 2 RBI and a home run in the championship. Wichita State will host their home opener on Tuesday against North Dakota State at 3pm.