With the bases loaded and the game tied in the bottom of the ninth inning, Evan Russell drew a walk to give Tennessee a 5-4 win over Alabama on Friday night at Lindsey Nelson Stadium.
Russell got down 0-2 before drawing four straight balls — the third of which probably should have been called strike three and sent the Alabama dugout into a frenzy — to bring home Benito Santiago and give the Volunteers the series-opening win.
Tennessee used 12 hits to bring across its five runs and held the Crimson Tide largely in check, save their three-run fifth inning. Garrett Crochet pitched 6.1 innings and allowed six hits and two earned runs for the Vols, but reliever Zach Linginfelter picked up the win for Tennessee.
The win brings Tennessee’s record to 14-9 overall and 2-2 in the SEC. After winning last Friday but losing the following two games against Ole Miss, the Vols will look to grab at least one more from the Tide this weekend to pick up a series win.
The Vols and Tide will play the second game of this three-game series Saturday at 6 p.m.