On a rainy night in Hoover the Crimson Tide lost a game shortened to seven innings by a score of 6-2 to the Southern Miss Golden Eagles. 'Bama fell to 23-21 on the season , while the Eagles improved to 24-16-1, including a 4-0 record against SEC teams. The game was the 101st in the series history, with the Tide holding a 71-30 advantage.
Fresh off of a 13-4, 17-hit, victory over Ole Miss on Sunday, the Tide looked to carry some momentum into the midweek contest with Southern Miss. However on a sloppy night the Tide couldn't put together the effort they needed to secure a win. 'Bama hosts Arkansas in yet another key SEC series on Thursday, Friday and Saturday this week.
Sophomore right hander Nick Eicholtz continued to be the teams Tuesday starter, and was tagged for his first loss of the season, dropping his record to 3-1. Eicholtz lasted into the fifth inning, allowing nine hits, with two walks and five strikeouts, allowing three runs, all earned.
Chase Scott got the Eagles started with a solo home run leading off the fourth inning. USM added two more in the frame on four straight hits, before Eicholtz righted himself and struck out the final two hitters of the inning. 'Bama battled back in the bottom of the fourth, scoring twice. Kyle Overstreet drew a walk and trotted home on a two out home run by J.C. Wilhite, his second of the season.
When the first two hitters of the fifth singled off of Eicholtz, he was pulled in favor of freshman left hander Alex Watkins. Watkins recorded three ground ball outs, with a run scoring on the second one. Watkins allowed a walk in the sixth, and with two outs was replaced on the mound by Wilhite. Dylan Boudreaux greeted the side armer with a long two run home run to left, to stretch the lead to the final margin of 6-2. Alabama's threatened in the fifth when Georgie Salem lined a one out double to right, but was stranded after Mikey White and Casey Hughston both popped out.
Jake Hubbard pitched the seventh, and after a lead off walk, got three straight outs, including a strikeout. Chance Vincent walked to lead off the seventh for the Tide, but was doubled off first when Salem scorched a line drive that was snagged by the first baseman for an inning ending double play.
Hubbard came out to start the eighth, but when the rain intensified the umpires halted play, before meeting a few minutes later and calling it a night.
Wilhite led the offense with his 2-3 night, home run and two RBIs. Will Haynie had two singles in three tries and Hughston and Salem had the only other hits for the Tide.
The positives taken from the loss were: Haynie collecting two hits, and continuing to make more consistent contact, Wilhite continuing to hit, and Watkins and Hubbard having good performances out of the bullpen. Other than that there wasn't much good to draw from the game.
Time is starting to run out for the Tide, and when they have a big win like they did on Sunday, they need to capitalize and build on it, which they have been unable to do all season. After an offensive explosion on Sunday the offense was stagnant again on Tuesday.
Arkansas comes to the Met on Thursday for a three game set. Thursday and Friday's games both are set to start at 6:00 p.m. and will be televised on the SEC Network. Saturday's first pitch is at noon and will be televised on ESPN2.
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