Bulldogs Split Doubleheader In SWAC East Showdown At Alabama State



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MONTGOMERY, AL — Alabama A&M jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the first inning and then got strong pitching performances from Josh Burchell, Devin Smith and Andrew Utterback for a 6-3 win over Alabama State. The Hornets won the nightcap 6-2.

Alabama A&M vs. Alabama State

The Bulldogs, 8-3 in the SWAC, will meet Alabama State, 6-2, Sunday at 1 p.m. in the series finale. The game can be viewed on Live Stats at http://bamastatesports.com/www.sidearmstats.com/alasu/baseball

In the first game Saturday, Brandyn Crutcher had a leadoff single, moved to second on Patrick Dodson’s sacrifice bunt and scored on Austin Hulsey’s single up the middle. Hulsey then moved to second on the unsuccessful throw to the plate to get Crutcher.  Utterback grounded out to third but Hulsey advanced to third and scored on a throwing error for the 2-0 lead.

The Bulldogs ran the score to 3-0 in the second inning when Dustin Dhanani doubled with two outs and scored on Jordan Friend’s single.

The Hornets scored twice in the bottom of the second to cut A&M’s lead to 3-2.

In the top of the fifth, Friend led off with a single and then stole second. Crutcher and Dodson walked to load the bases and Hulsey was hit by a pitch, scoring Friend for a 4-2 lead. Crutcher made it 5-2 when he scored from third on Utterback’s sacrifice fly to centerfield.

Alabama State answered with a run of its own in the bottom of the inning to trail 5-3.

Utterback provided the final run of the game when his two-out single scored Crutcher.

Burchell went 4 1/3 innings in the start, giving up three runs on five hits while striking out four and walking two. He also hit a batter. Smith gave up just two hits, no walks and hit two batters in 3 2/3 innings and Utterback got the save in pitching a scoreless ninth.

Crutcher was 2-for-4, scoring three runs and walking once; Friend and Dhanani each had two hits with Dhanani also doubling and Hulsey and Utterback each had two RBIs.

In the nightcap, the Hornets led 6-0 until A&M scored a pair of unearned runs in the eighth inning by Dhanani and Justen Folger.

Utterback and Folger each had two hits in the game and Trae Nelson had the Bulldogs’ other hit. Starting pitcher Ryan Ahrens, 4-1, picked up his first loss of the year, giving up four runs on seven hits and two walks in five innings. He struck out four and hit two batters.