Yet another baseball weekend unfortunately brings more bad news for the baseball team. The Crimson Tide went to Knoxville hoping to rebound from a disappointing series loss last weekend, but things didn't get any better. Alabama won the first game, dropped the second one, and headed to the Sunday game with a chance to win the series.
And things looked great for a while, too. Going into the bottom of the eighth, Alabama led the Vols by two, who were suddenly down to their final six outs. Miers Quigley had pitched a gem to that point, but was obviously out of gas -- he had almost a 100 pitch outing against Southeastern Louisiana mid-week, and was pitching on only three days rest. In the previous couple of innings, the Vols had drilled Quigley, but we were fortunate enough to have the balls hit right to us, and we kept them off the board. A pitching chance was obviously needed... well, obvious to everyone but Jim Wells. Unfortunately, Wells send Quigley out for the eighth, and after a walk and a single opened the inning, the Vols hit a towering three run homer to take the 5-4 lead, and they never looked back on the way to a 6-4 win.
Continuing to plague Alabama was even more struggles at the plate. All told, we left twelve runners on base, and eight runners in scoring position. We had countless opportunities to put this game away, but never could do it, and ultimately some bad managerial decision-making did us in.
The outlook for the Tide is not looking particularly good. LSU lost a series to Ole Miss this weekend, and Auburn was swept by South Carolina, but unfortunately we could not gain any real ground on either of them. We stayed even with LSU, and gained only a game on Auburn. All told, it puts us in a three-way tie for second place in the SEC West. And that, honestly, sounds better than it really is. As a whole, the SEC West is really bad, and only Ole Miss is a decent squad. The entire SEC East is better than the bottom five in the SEC West, and it seems like only two teams from the West will make Hoover. That is very bad news for Alabama, as it looks like we're going to have to edge out both LSU and Auburn just to make Hoover. Being brutally honest, at absolute best, we look to be the eighth best team in the conference.
The Tide will return to play mid-week with a neutral site game against Southern Miss, and then will take on Mississippi State -- easily the conference's worst team -- in a home series next weekend.