South Alabama Fall Baseball Report: Week 2

FROM CBB NEWS SOURCE

ClintReynoldsUSA MOBILE, Ala. – The University of South Alabama baseball team completed its second week of fall practice on Saturday, then took a day off to rest for Monday’s scout day at Stanky Field.

The Jaguars had to alter the schedule to work around scout day, so instead of playing games over the weekend, they held intrasquad scrimmages Tuesday, Friday and Saturday. Below are recaps from each of the week’s games.

Tuesday’s scrimmage:
USA hitters broke out the bats and combined for 19 runs on 25 hits in the six-inning game. Clint Reynolds and Brent Tanner each went 3-for-4 and scored three runs, with Tanner collecting three RBI and Reynolds knocking in a pair of runs.

Pitchers who threw in the first intrasquad on Sept. 25 were limited to just 30 pitches, so all five were available to pitch again in Tuesday’s game. Lance Baxter started on the mound and allowed a leadoff double to Reynolds. One out later, Tyler Vick delivered a RBI single, but Baxter retired the next five batters in order before allowing a single to Nolan Earley.

Hunt Griffith brought Earley home with a RBI double, but Baxter escaped without further damage with the help of a pickoff. In his fourth inning of work, Baxter surrendered a two-run homer to Stuart Barton after Brad Hook got on base with a one-out single.

D.D. Hanks was the next pitcher to take the mound, and he struggled through one inning of work, in part because of a pair of errors. Reynolds and Adam Heisler led off the inning with singles, and one out later Tanner knocked a RBI single and Jake Overstreet followed with a two-run home run. Hanks ended the inning on a high note by getting Heisler to ground out with a pair of runners in scoring position.

Garrett Harris came on in relief, but the Jaguar bats stayed hot. Brittian Schultz led off the inning with a single, and one out later Zach Grichor and Nathaniel Lami loaded the bases with back-to-back singles. Sean Laird collected a pair of RBI by drawing a walk and delivering a sacrifice fly. He had back-to-back plate appearances because when a batter draws a walk in fall scrimmages, he starts a new at-bat while a runner is sent in from the bench to first base.

Harris escaped the inning without further damage, but ran into more trouble in the next frame when he had to face Tanner in three straight plate appearances. Tanner drew walks in the first two, then knocked a RBI double. Overstreet followed with a RBI single before Harris finished his day with a strikeout.

Jarrett Bailey was the next Jag to take the hill. He put the Jags down in order in each of his first two innings, but ran into trouble in his third. Blake McCool was hit by a pitch, then combined on back-to-back singles with Taylor White. Grichor drew a walk to load the bases, then singled in a run. Bailey hit another batter to load the bases again, but got out of the jam with a strikeout and a flyout.

Chris LaGrow was the last Jag pitcher to take the mound, and he struggled to find the strike zone in one inning of work. Reynolds led off with a walk, and one out later Heisler doubled. Another walk was sandwiched by doubles from Vick and Tanner, but LaGrow got out of the inning with a groundout.

Heisler and Overstreet finished the day 2-for-4, while Earley and Grichor each went 2-for-3. Overstreet homered and drove in three runs, while Earley and Heisler each crossed the plate twice.

Friday’s scrimmage:
If Tuesday’s game was a slugfest, Friday’s was the complete opposite. Six pitchers combined to limit Jaguar hitters to four hits and two runs – both unearned – in the five-inning game. While the offensive numbers suffered, the fact that the Jags switched to wood bats for Friday’s game didn’t help.

Michael Raia allowed only one hit in two innings. He started with three consecutive flyouts, then worked around a Reynolds single in his second frame of work.

Kyle Dees came on in relief and allowed one hit in 1.2 innings with four of his five outs coming by strikeout. Travis Corley followed and worked 1.1 perfect innings and struck out a pair of batters.

Carlton Paris and Lance Brown were the last two Jag pitchers to take the hill, and each allowed an unearned run in one inning.

White had half of the Jags’ hits in a 2-for-2 effort, while Heisler and Schultz both drew a pair of walks. Reynolds and Earley had the only other hits, while Reynolds and Brad Hammac were the only two players to score a run and Earley collected the only RBI.

Saturday’s scrimmage:
The final intrasquad game of the second week started with the hitters in control, but ended with solid pitching.

Eric Walters worked around a leadoff walk to Reynolds in the first inning, but ran into trouble after walking Lami with one out in his second frame. Lami, Tanner and Vick combined on three consecutive doubles before Walters got out of the inning with a flyout.

Laird led off the next inning with another double, then Overstreet put runners on the corners with a single that set up Hook’s sacrifice fly. Walters turned the ball over to Conner Reese, who worked a scoreless first inning, but ran into trouble in his next frame.

Hunt Griffith and Reynolds led off with consecutive doubles, and one-out later Heisler reached on an error to set up Laird’s two-run homer. Hook delivered another double, but Reese got a strikeout to get out of the inning without further damage.

Jake LeBlanc was next out of the bullpen, and he fell victim to an error that led to three unearned runs in his second inning of work. He allowed a two-out walk to Reynolds, who then reached on an error, and Grichor singled to load the bases. LeBlanc then walked in a run when he issued a free pass to Heisler, who then collected a two-run single.

Phillip Byrd came on in relief and quickly shut down the offense. He allowed a leadoff single to Barton before retiring the next 12 batters he faced in order, six of which came by strikeout. He allowed only one hit in four innings before turning the ball over to the final pitcher of the week, Shane LeBlanc.

LeBlanc was nearly as effective, limiting the Jag offense to two hits over three shutout innings. He worked around a Heisler single, an Overstreet double and a walk in his second frame, getting a crucial groundout to keep the offense off the board.

Weekend totals:
Reynolds led the team with five hits in 10 at-bats and also scored a team-leading seven runs, while Earley, Vick, Tanner, Overstreet and Heisler had four hits apiece. Tanner and Reynolds both doubled three times, while Barton, Laird and Overstreet all homered. Laird, Vick and Tanner drove in four runs each.

Byrd had the best pitching line with one hit and six strikeouts over four shutout innings. Shane LeBlanc worked three shutout innings with three strikeouts, while Raia, Dees and Corley each held the offense scoreless in their outings.

The Jags return to practice this week in preparation for the annual Red & Blue World Series, which starts at 2 p.m. Sunday at Stanky Field.