Thorsby’s Jones makes pitching return to Alabama

Published 3:23 pm Friday, April 26, 2024

Getting your Trinity Audio player ready...

By Carey Reeder | Managing Editor

Thorsby High School alumnus Tanner Jones made his pitching return to Alabama on April 19 as he took the mound to start for No. 1 ranked Texas A&M University. Jones and the Aggies played a three-game series at Sewell-Thomas Stadium against the University of Alabama, and the junior got the start in game two is his usual spot for the staff this season.

Jones’ return to Alabama comes after transferring to Texas A&M from Jacksonville State University where he spent two seasons after signing with the Gamecocks out of Thorsby in 2021. He became the first, and only, Division I student athlete to sign a scholarship to play collegiate sports from the Class 2A school. Jones was not alone in his return as dozens of friends and family made the short trip to Tuscaloosa to see him pitch for the top-ranked team in the country.

The junior breezed through with a 1-2-3 first inning, and the Aggies gave him some massive run support in the second inning with eight runs in the top half. The extended rest may not have played into Jones’ favor though as Alabama loaded the bases with one out, and a grand slam was hit to cut the lead in half. However, Jones retired the next two batters after the home run to end the inning, and he settled in to hold Alabama scoreless in the third and fourth innings. He was relieved in the fifth inning and his final line was four and one-third innings pitched with seven hits, six runs (five earned) and one strikeout on 88 pitches thrown.

Aside from the long break, which was a good break in hindsight, that led to the home run, Jones was extremely solid in his return to Alabama and showed why the Aggies’ coaching staff continues to roll him out every weekend series. In nine appearances (all starts) for A&M this season, Jones is 3-1 with a 4.67 ERA and 1.36 WHIP in 34.2 innings thrown. He has given up just 19 runs and struck out 34 batters, and his ERA right now is the exact same it was his sophomore season at Jacksonville State when he went 7-3 with 84 strikeouts in 79 innings pitched. Jones is right on track for where the Aggies want him to be, and the reason why they snagged the No. 86 ranked transfer by out of the transfer portal.

Jones and the Aggies are currently 36-5 overall this season and 13-5 in Southeastern Conference play, and are among the favorites to reach the College World Series in Omaha in June.