Jacksonville State swept the season series from Alabama by winning 11-8 on Tuesday night in Tuscaloosa, following a 2-1, 10 inning victory on February 28th, in a game that was also in Tuscaloosa. The Gamecocks improved to 20-18 and the Tide fell to 15-26 on the year.
Freshman Deacon Medders got the start for ‘Bama, and struggled right out of the shoot. A lead off double was followed by a one out two run home run off the bat of A.J. Reynolds. Medders also walked two batters in the inning, but trailed 2-0 before the Tide ever got to the plate. Alabama answered with two runs of their own in the bottom of the first. Chandler Avant and Kyle Kaufman singled to start the rally. Cobie Vance, the teams leading hitter at .327, was called on to sacrifice bunt, which he did successfully. Cody Henry singled in one run, and Kaufman scored on the front end of a double steal to tie the game. The first inning took 47 minutes to play, and the game lasted 3 hours, 42 minutes, about average for Tide games this season.
Medders stranded the bases loaded in the second, and departed in favor of Zac Rogers after throwing 52 pitches in two innings. Rogers allowed a run in the third on three singles and a walk, and one in the fourth on a double and two singles. With ‘Bama down 4-2 in the bottom of the fourth, Henry singled again, and was followed by a Chandler Taylor bomb into the right field plaza. The long ball was Taylor’s 11th of the year.
Garrett Suchey follow Rogers to the mound in the fifth and the ‘Cocks scored three runs with the benefit of only one hit. After two, one out walks, Suchey threw a bunt into center field to score one run. JSU scored two more in the inning to take a 7-4 lead. In the bottom of the fifth Walker McCleney singled and Kyle Kaufman was hit by a pitch with one out. Vance hit into a force play for out two, before Henry hit his eighth home run of the year over the left field wall to tie the game at seven apiece. The Tide took the lead 8-7 in the bottom of the sixth when Alex Webb, who had singled, scored on a bases loaded walk to Kyle Kaufman.
The wheels fell off for the Tide in the top of the seventh, and the Gamecocks scored four runs to put the game away. Suchey allowed a leadoff single, but Webb threw the runner out trying to steal for out one. A strikeout followed for out two, before a walk kept the inning alive. With Andrew Naismith at the plate, Suchey struck him out with a slider in the dire. However, the ball got past Webb and Naismith reached first base on what would have been out three. Suchey was pulled in favor of Davis Vainer. Vainer faced two batters, both of which singled runs in for a 9-8 lead. Vainer was replaced by Mike Oczypok who game up two singles, allowing two more to score, before shutting the door. The Tide entered the bottom of the seventh down 11-8.
The Tide had a chance in the eighth when Connor Short lead off with a single. With two out Kaufman lined a shot in the gap, but was thrown out at second base trying to stretch to a double, ending the inning. ‘Bama got a single from Vance and a walk to Taylor in the ninth, but the side struck out, leaving the Tide on the short end of an 11-8 score.
JSU had 16 hits and drew seven walks, leaving 14 runners on base. The Tide had 13 hits with four walks, struck out eight times and left seven on base. Henry had three hits, including his home run, and drove in four runs. Avant and Kaufman had two hits apiece and Taylor drove in two with his team leading 11th home run. Suchey’s record fell to 2-6 with the loss. The Gamecocks had seven players with two hits each.
Next up for the Tide is a Thursday, Friday, Saturday series hosting LSU. Thursday’s game is at 6:30 p.m. CT and will be shown on ESPN2. Game two is Friday at 6 p.m and Saturday’s first pitch is at 2 p.m. Both can be seen on SEC Network Plus/Watch ESPN App.
Mercifully there are only 11 games left on the Tides schedule: three-game series with LSU, Auburn, Florida and Vanderbilt in conference, plus a trip to Samford and a home game with Grambling. The season has not gone as expected, and has not been pretty. The players do play hard, which is about the only positive that can be drawn. Tomorrow I will delve in to dynamics of the season.
Roll Tide, Bama Baseball Fever, Catch it
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