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Alabama Baseball Loses Series To Georgia

After winning their first two SEC series of the year, the Crimson Tide lost two out of three this weekend to fall to 5-4 in league play and 16-11 overall. The Dawgs improved to 4-5 and 17-12 on the year. The series loss topped off a bad week for the Tide, losing three of four by a combined score of 35-16.

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The Crimson Tide lost their first SEC series of the year to Georgia on Thursday-Friday-Saturday, two games to one, after defeating both LSU and Tennessee by the same margin earlier. The Tide fell to 5-4 in league play and 16-11 overall with the defeats. The team had a bad week, losing Tuesday to Auburn 10-1, beating UGA 10-7 (in 13 innings) on Thursday, before losing 7-1 and 12-4 in the final two games. After Thursday's win the team was sitting alone atop the SEC West Division, but that ranking dissipated quickly.

Game One: Won 10-7 (13 innings)

In a 5 hour,12 minute marathon the Crimson Tide outlasted the Bulldogs by a score of 10-7, rapping out 19 hits and using seven pitchers along the way. Matt Foster was the winning pitcher, throwing four clutch, scoreless innings, and Thomas Burrows returned after a month long injury to gain the save.

The Tide started quickly, sending nine men to the plate and scoring four runs in the fourth inning on the back of four singles and two walks. With ace Geoffrey Bramblett racking on strikeouts at a high rate with command of both sides of the plate, 'Bama looked to be able to coast home. However, an infield single, a walk and a double plated two Dawgs in the fourth to cut into the margin. In the fifth when the first two UGA batters reached on a hit batter and a single, coach Mitch Gaspard lifted Bramblett after 83 pitches in favor of freshman Kyle Cameron. A walk, a sacrifice fly, a strikeout and two more walks followed, chasing Cameron in favor of Dylan Durate. By the time the inning ended, Georgia had sent 13 men to the plate and scored five runs to take a 7-4 lead.

'Bama bats went quietly in the third, fourth five and sixth innings before a two run rally in the sixth drew the team closer, by a margin of 7-6. The Tide tied things up in the seventh when Hunter Webb singled, stole second, and scored on a RBI double by Chandler Taylor. Ray Castillo pitched two scoreless innings, followed by a scoreless eighth inning from Sam Finnerty, bringing Foster to the hill in the ninth. In his four innings Foster allowed two hits, walked two and struck out six.

The Tide finally struck in the 13th, scoring three times. Gene Wood, who had entered the game as a pinch runner in the 11th inning, started things off with a harmless pop fly to center that UGA center fielder dropped for an error. Wood stole second base to get in scoring position, and with two outs scored on a triple by Chance Vincent. Keith Holcombe was intentionally walked bringing up little used reserve Taylor Poe. Poe had come in in the 11th after Will Haynie was lifted for a pinch runner. In his second at bat of the year Poe lined a two run double into the right center gap, giving the Tide some breathing room.

Leading 10-7, All American closer Thomas Burrows was called on in the bottom of the 13th to salt the game away. Burrows showed a little rust in coming back from an oblique injury that had sidelined him since March 4th, walking the first three batters he faced. The junior lefty then showed his stuff, bouncing back to strike out the next three hitters, stranding the bases loads and securing the victory, along with his fifth save of the year.

'Bama collected 19 hits in the game, walked four times and struck out 14 times. UGA had 13 hits, with nine walks and struck out 19 times, an amazing 14 of them looking. Vincent, Holcombe and Haynie all had three hits to lead the team, and were joined by two hit nights from Cody Henry, Conner Short and Daniel Cucjen. The Tide did not commit an error, while three Georgia errors helped lead to four unearned runs.

Game Two: Lost 7-1

Alabama had three base runners in game two, on two walks and one hit, a  two out ninth inning, pinch hit, home run by Georgie Salem. UGA junior right hander Robert Tyler was the story of the game. One week after not allowing a hit in six innings to Mississippi State the likely first round draft pick totally dominated the Tide.

Tyler had a perfect game through 6.1 innings before issuing back to back walks to Connor Short and Chandler Taylor in the top of the seventh. At that point the score was 3-0 in favor of the Dawgs, and Cody Henry came to the plate representing the tying run. A quick double play squelched that "rally", setting the stage for Tyler to try and finish off his no hitter.

Any thought of a Tide comeback was put to bed in the bottom for the eighth as the Bulldogs poured four more runs across the plate for a 7-0 lead. The only question then was could the Tide break up Tyler's bid for greatness. The first two batters went out on two pitches, a long drive to center by Will Haynie that was run down by Steven Wrenn, and a ground out to short by Chandler Avant. Salem came to the plate as a pinch hitter and blasted the first pitch he saw over the score board in right center field, ending the no hitter and the shut out in one fell swoop. Tyler got the last out, also on one pitch, to end the game with the 7-1, one hit victory.

Lost in Tyler's gem was the performance of 'Bama pitcher Jake Walters, who pitched well enough to win, throwing six innings, allowing seven hits, three runs (only one earned), while walking only one and striking out seven. Three Tide errors didn't help his cause.

Game Three: Lost 12-4

In the rubber game of the series the Tide sent Nick Eicholtz and his 0.50 ERA to the mound to oppose Conner Jones, who entered the game with an ERA of 5.50. Eicholtz's first pitch of the game was driven for a home run by Steven Wrenn. who was followed by a single and a double from the next two hitters, for a quick 2-0 UGA lead. The Dawgs collected four hits in the first, and only a Will Haynie pick off of Skyler Weber at first base held the margin to two.

'Bama did bounce back to tie the game in the second when Haynie continued his hot hitting, leading off with a single. Sam Finnerty and Hunter Webb both doubled in the innings, with Webb's hit driving in a run. Daniel Cucjen drove in the other run in the frame with a ground out.

UGA added one run in both the second and third innings before exploding for seven in a disastrous fourth inning, putting the game away. Eicholtz pitched three innings, plus to two batters in the fourth and was raked for nine hits and seven runs (six earned.) Zac Rogers followed allowing five runs in 2.2 innings on five hits and three walks.Ray Castillo had 1.1 scoreless innings and Colton Freeman pitched one perfect inning with two strikeouts.

Jones last 7.2 innings for UGA and was lifted when the Tide put two runners aboard in the eighth. Blakely Brown allowed a two run double to Chance Vincent for 'Bama's only other runs in the 12-4 loss. The Tide got out hit 15-8 in the game, and walked only two times to seven UGA free passes. Cobie Vance had two doubles and was joined by Sam Finnerty with two hits, including a double.


A bad week for the Tide. After losing to Auburn in the Capital City Classic on Tuesday by a score of 10-1, 'Bama was outscored by Georgia 26-15 in the three game series. Tide hitters stuck out 29 times in the series, while drawing only eight walks, while hitting 28-111 over the three games. Georgia, who came into the series as the only SEC team with a worse batting average then the Tide was 39-121 (.322) on the weekend, while walking 17 times and striking out 32 times.

There were very few bright spots, Will Haynie and Chance Vincent remain hot hitters, Walters had a very good outing, and getting Burrows back is huge. Other than that, too many hitters in slumps, too many strikeouts and some sloppy defense hurt the Tide this week. The team has shown resiliency this season, and can bounce back, they get a chance to with a two game home set with Alcorn State on Tuesday and Wednesday (both at 6:30 p.m.), and a road trip to Kentucky on Friday, Saturday and Sunday.

Bama Baseball Fever, Catch It

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