The eighth-ranked Crimson Tide seemed to have a hangover from their Sunday loss to Tennessee on Tuesday when the faced Southern Mississippi on Tuesday night. The Tide won the series vs. the Vols two games to one, but had a sweep within reach before blowing an 8-2 eighth inning lead and losing 10-9. USM defeated 'Bama for the second time this season, winning 6-3 Tuesday night and 2-1 on February 26th, to sweep the season series. The Eagles record is now 25-17.
Freshman Nick Eicholtz received the start on the mound for the Tide, trying to right himself after a couple of subpar outings. The Odessa, Florida native started shaky, walking the game's first batter, who was then thrown out trying to steal by catcher Will Haynie. Eicholtz hit the second batter and walked the third batter, but recovered to end the inning without any runs being scored. In the second inning Eicholtz allowed two two-out, singles before retiring the side, and ending his night after 44 pitches. Fellow freshman Geoffrey Bramblett followed Eicholtz on the mound. Bramblett allowed a run in the fourth inning by hitting the lead off batter, Bradley Roney. Roney advanced on two groundouts, and scored on a single by Mason Robbins.
Southern Miss tacked on three more runs in the sixth off of Bramblet and Jay Shaw. The Eagles got a lead off single, and a one out double, which chased Bramblett from the game. Shaw walked his first batter, and then threw a wild pitch to score a run. A single and ground out scored the other two for a 4-0 Eagle lead. The Tide finally dented the scoreboard in the bottom for the sixth when Ben Moore doubled, and later scored on a sacrifice fly by Kyle Overstreet.
'Bama called on Ray Castillo to pitch in the eighth inning and after a lead off single and a sacrifice bunt, Robbins blasted his fourth hit of the night, a long home run into to plaza in right field and a 6-1 lead. Robbins was 4-4 with four RBIs on the night hitting out of the eight hole. Robbins entered the game hitting just .216. Mitch Greer was then called to the mound and he got a double play ground ball to end the inning. In the bottom of the eighth the Tide stranded two more runners on base, and left 10 on for the game. Overstreet worked a two out walk, and Austen Smith singled but the inning ended on a strikeout of Casey Hughston. Greer pitched a perfect ninth inning with a strikeout. 'Bama had a small rally in the bottom of the ninth, but it was a case of to little, to late. Chance Vincent lead off with a double, and scored on a one out single by Mikey White. With two outs Moore blasted a triple to score White, but he was stranded on third when Wade Wass's long drive to center was corralled to end the game, with the Tide on the wrong end of a 6-3 score.
Cameron Giannini was the winning pitcher and has a record of 3-2. Bramblett suffered the loss after allowing three hits and three runs in 3 1/3 innings. The one bright spot was Greer's 1 2/3 scoreless, hitless innings.Offensively the Tide collected nine hits, but failed at several opportunities to get a big hit to put the team back within striking distance.
* Ben Moore was 3-5, with a double and triple, a run scored and an RBI.It was Moore's sixth straight game with at least two hits.
* Chance Vincent was 2-3 with a double and a run scored
* Mikey White was 1-4 with a walk a run scored and a RBI
* Wade Wass was 1-4 with a walk
* Austen Smith was 1-2 with two walks
* Casey Hughston was 1-4
* Kyle Overstreet drove in a run with a sacrifice fly
This was a bad loss for a team looking to host a regional and possible be a top eight seed for the NCAA tournament. The team came out flat and never seemed to have any life or energy. Weather that was a hang over from Sunday's blown lead, or fatigue from a long hard SEC road trip, it is something that needs to be addressed. The baseball season is a long one, and it is hard to always be at your best, but for the most part this season this team as played hard, and with a purpose. That purpose seemed to be missing last night, but needs to be found quickly, as the South Carolina Gamecocks await the Tide this weekend. USC is a top ten team and has a RPI of five. Their record is 31-10 overall and 10-8 in the SEC. The game times are 6:00 p.m. on Friday, 1:00 p.m on Saturday and 12 noon on Sunday. The Saturday and Sunday contests will be televised on ESPN. The rotation will remain Spencer Turnbull, Justin Kamplain and Jon Keller. The bull pen, which was such a strength for a long stretch, has struggled the last few games and needs to straighten out for the Tide to pull off the series victory. There is a lot to be played for and this team seems to have the resolve to shake off the last couple of games and play to their potential.
Bama Baseball Fever, Catch It!
Roll Tide Y'all Roger
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