Alabama’s baseball team has played seven SEC series this season, and has been swept in five of them, after dropping three home games to LSU this weekend.
The Tide fell to 2-19 in league play and 15-29 overall. The 15th ranked Tigers improved to 13-8 and 30-15. ‘Bama last won a conference game on April 1st when they beat Arkansas 7-1. LSU won game one 8-2, game two 7-4 and finished off the weekend on Saturday with a 4-3 win in 11 innings.
Game One: Lost 8-2
The Tide’s first inning woes continued as LSU put up three first inning runs, putting the Tide in an early hole that they could never recover from. Four singles and a hit batter helped the Tigers take a first inning lead off of Dylan Durate. Durate only lasted two batters into the fourth inning, leading to taxing an already-thin Alabama bullpen.
Redshirt freshman catcher Alex Webb, who has just started seeing extended playing time, put ‘Bama on the board off of Tiger ace Alex Lange with a two run homerun in the bottom of the second. That was as close as the Tide would get all night, 3-2. LSU answered in the top of the third on an RBI single by Jordan Romero. When Durate hit the first two batters in the fourth on two pitches, coach Greg Goff called Sam Finnerty out of the bullpen. A fielders choice scored the lead runner, closing the door on Durate after 3+ innings, with seven hits and five earned runs allowed.
Finnerty was outstanding, going 4.1 innings, allowing three hits with two walks and no runs allowed. The Tigers put the game out of reach in the top of the ninth off of Zac Rogers with fours walks and three runs.
The Tigers outhit the Tide 11-8 and drew six walks compared to two for ‘Bama. Kyle Kaufman, Cody Henry and Webb had two hits apiece for the Tide. LSU pitchers, lead by MLB prospect Lange, struck out 13 hitters, 10 by Lange. The Tide struck out five Tigers. Lange improved to 5-4 on the season, while Durate fell to 2-5.
Game Two: Lost 7-4
Nick Eicholtz faced off against LSU’s Jared Poche’ in Friday’s second game. Eicholtz died by a thousand paper cuts it seemed, as he never was hit hard, but allowed 10 hits in 4.2 innings, giving up six runs, five earned. The Tide was able to touch Poche’ for four runs in 5.2 innings, but could not score against the Tiger bullpen.
LSU used a double, a passed ball, and a ground out to take a 1-0 lead in the second. In the third the Tigers added two runs. Cole Freeman reached on an error and Greg Deichmann lined a drive off of Eicholtz’s back side for an RBI single. A wild pitch, a passed ball, and another infield single brought in another run.
Connor Short put the Tide on the board in the third with a solo home run the opposite way to right field, his fourth of the year. Diechmann answered for the Tigers in the fourth with another RBI single. When Josh Smith drove in two more runs for LSU in the fifth, with a blooper just over the infield, Garrett Suchey replaced Eicholtz.
Chandler Taylor brought the Tide closer in the sixth with his 12th home run of the season, a laser shot into the right field plaza. Taylor is third in the league in home runs, behind Brent Rooker from MSU and Diechmann. The only damage the Tigers could do off of Suchey was a ninth inning blast off the bat of Michael Papierski.
The Tide had eight hits, with Taylor leading the way with three. The Tigers collected 13 hits. Eicholtz dropped to 1-2 on the season with the loss, while Poche’ improved to 7-3.
Game Three: Lost 4-3 (11 innings)
Jake Walters started game three for the Tide against Eric Walker for the Tigers. Walters, normally the first game starter, was once again held out to be used as a closer in the first two games if needed. Walters had one of his best games of the year, pitching into the eighth inning, going 7.1 while allowing five hits, with one walk and striking out six while allowing three runs.
A lead off single for Josh Smith and a two run blast from Greg Deichmann, hits 15th, staked LSU to an early 2-0 lead. The Tide answered in the bottom of the first after singles by Chandler Avant and Kyle Kaufman led off the game. Chandler Taylor drove one in with a long sacrifice fly, and Cody Henry doubled in the tying run.
The Tide took their first lead of the weekend in the bottom of the fourth when Henry singled, followed by a Hunter Alexander double. Alex Webb then hit a pop up near the mound that the wind played tricks with. Shortstop Kramer Robertson called everyone off, but tripped over the mound trying to make the play and the ball dropped for a single, loading the bases. Sam Finnerty hit into a double play, and the go ahead run scored.
LSU was able to tie the game in the seventh. Nick Coomes lead off with a single before Robertson hit a come backer to Walters on the mound. The Tide couldn't quite turn the double play. Robertson then stole second on a close play, and scored on Jordan Romero’s single.
Walters allowed a double and a sac bunt to start the eighth inning, putting a runner on third with no outs. Davis Vainer replaced Walters, and after giving up a walk, struck out Deichmann and Coomes to strand the Tigers runners. The Tide had base runners in the eighth and ninth, but could not push a run across, putting the game into extra innings.
The Tigers finally got to Vainer in the top of the 11th after a lead off walk and singles by Antoine Duplantis and Michael Papierski, the second of which scored LSU’s go ahead (and game-winning) run. The Tide got a one-out single for Webb in the bottom half of the frame, but that was all they could generate.
Vainer fell to 0-3 on the season, and Hunter Newman was the winner, moving his record to 1-1. The Tide outhit the Tigers 9-8. ‘Bama drew three walks and struck out five times, making contact much more often than normal. LSU struck out 11 times and drew five walks. Kauffman, Henry, Alexander, and Webb all had two hits for the Tide.
Who Did What?
Alex Webb 5-13, HR
Cody Henry 4-12
Kyle Kaufman 4-12
Chandler Taylor 3-10, HR
Sam Finnerty 4.1 IP, 3 Hits, 0 runs
Garrett Suchey 4.1 IP 3 Hits 1 run 5 K
Jake Walters 7.1 IP 5 hits 3 Runs 6 K
With finals looming this week, the Tide will not play a midweek game. They will be back in action on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday when they travel to West Georgia to take on the 5th ranked Auburn Tigers. Game one is set for 6 p.m, game two at 2 p.m and game three at 4 p.m. All times are Central, as God intended. Games one and two are available on SEC Network Plus/Watch ESPN, while game three will be on the SEC Network.
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