Another brutal series for the Crimson Tide baseball team this weekend, as 7th ranked Arkansas won all three games by scores of 7-3, 7-4, and 9-7 at Baum Stadium in Fayetteville. The Tide led in the second and third games, but could not close out the powerful Razorbacks in front of their raucous home crowds.
Game One: Lost 7-3
Sam Finnerty took his normal Friday night start for the Tide, and as per usual, was matched up against a potential high MLB draft pick in Blaine Knight. ‘Bama was able to chase Knight early, but he was still able to run his season record to 7-0. Finnerty was tagged with the loss and fell to 4-3 on the year.
Arkansas used three straight hits and an error on a double play ball to score two times in the bottom of the first. The Tide bounced back in the top of the second to tie the game when Sam Praytor walked and scored in front of Jeaux Breaux’s first home run of his Alabama career.
The Razorbacks scored twice in the third on a double and a sacrifice fly, followed by a solo home run. Alabama was able to cut into the lead in the top of the fifth, but couldn't capitalize on a chance to tie the game. Kyle Kaufman led off the frame with a double, and advanced to third on a Jett Manning single. Manning then stole second, before Cobie Vance brought Kaufman home with a sacrifice fly to deep right field. A fly out and ground out stranded Manning at second, effectively ending any chance the Tide had to tie the game.
Finnerty was touched for a solo home run in the fifth and a two run shot in the sixth before ending his night. He lasted six full innings, allowing 10 hits and seven runs, along with one walk and two strikeouts. Dylan Duarte pitched shutout, one hit ball for the final two innings.
The Tide had six hits, drew three walks, struck out 10 times, and left five runners on base. Arkansas had 11 hits, drew two walks, struck out three times, and stranded seven runners. Manning was the only ‘Bama player with multiple hits, and Breaux drove in two runs, while Vance had the other RBI. Knight pitched six innings of three hit ball with three walks and six strikeouts, allowing all three runs. Knight had only walked six batters all season entering the game. Jake Reindl earned a three inning save for the Hogs.
Game Two: Lost 7-4
The second game featured Alabama’s Jake Walters and Arkansas left hander Kacey Murphy. Cobie Vance got the Tide on the board right out of the chute, sending a 2-2 offering over the fence in right field for his third home run of the season. The Hogs got the run back in the bottom of the first when Walters walked Heston Kjerstad after two quick outs. Walters threw the ball away at first while trying to pick Kjerstad off, and he then scored on a single by Luke Bonfield.
The Tide maintained the tie until the fifth when Arkansas pushed a run across on two singles, a catcher’s interference call, and a sacrifice fly. When Walters walked the next batter he was replaced by Brock Duffey, who got a fly out to strand the bases loaded. ‘Bama bounced back in the top of the sixth, grabbing the lead when Sam Praytor and Jeaux Breaux hit back to back home runs. The lead was short lived, however, as the Hogs bounced back for four runs in the bottom of the sixth off of Guffey, Davis Vainer, and Sam Gardner. Arkansas used four walks and three singles to plate the runs. Bonfield slammed a home run to lead off the seventh for the last run for the home team.
Alabama had a chance to get close in the eighth after two quick outs. Breaux walked, advanced on a Matt Malkin single, and scored on a base hit from Keith Holcombe. A strikeout stranded the two runners to close out the inning.
Guffey was tagged with the loss and fell to 1-2 on the year. The Tide had eight hits, drew four walks, and struck out a staggering 16 times, while leaving seven runners on base. Arkansas had nine hits, drew six walks, struck out seven times, and stranded six runners. Vance and Praytor had two hits each to lead the ‘Bama attack.
Game Three: Lost 9-7
In a long, wild game the Razorbacks earned the sweep with a 9-7 victory. The game lasted 4 hours and 31 minutes, highlighted (low lighted ?) by a 45 minute top of the third inning for the Crimson Tide.
Once again Cobie Vance got things started with his second lead off home run in a row. This was a rocket shot to left field for Vance’s fourth of the year. Garret Rukes started for the Tide and ran into trouble in the second, allowing four straight hits to start the inning. By the time Kyle Cameron replaced Rukes the score was 3-1 in the Hogs’ favor. That’s when things got wild.
In the top of the third the Tide sent 11 men to the plate, scoring five runs without the aid of a single hit. Three Razorback pitchers combined to walk seven batters and throw six wild pitches, and were let down by three errors from their teammates. Jeaux Breaux was the only player in the inning with a run driven in, and it came on a bases loaded walk. Three of the runs scored on wild pitches, and the other one on an error by the Hogs.
Casey Martin hit a solo home run for Arkansas in the bottom of the third to keep them within striking distance at 6-4. The Tide got a solo home run from John Trousdale to lead off the top of the fifth, but stranded two more runners in the inning. With a 7-4 deficit in the fifth the Razorbacks struck for four runs to retake the lead at 8-7. The big blow was an opposite field three run bomb by Dominic Fletcher.
Arkansas added an insurance run off of Deacon Medders in the eighth with a bases loaded sacrifice fly. The Tide made it interesting in the top of the ninth when Keith Holcombe drilled a one out single, followed by a walk to Vance. Unfortunately, Vance was thrown out when both runners tried to advance on a pitch in the dirt. A strikeout then ended the game with the Tide on the wrong end of a 9-7 score.
The Tide had six hits, drew 15 walks, and struck out 13 times, stranding 13 runners on base. The Razorbacks had 14 hits, six walks, five strikeouts, and left nine runners on base. Alabama was 0-20 with runners on base in the game. Dylan Duarte was the losing pitcher, dropping to 3-3 on the season. Six players had one hit each for ‘Bama.
Three straight sweeps in SEC play has the Tide scuffling. With a 5-16 conference mark it will be tough to even make it into the SEC Tournament in Hoover. Twelve of the fourteen teams make the tournament. At this point trying to best last years 5-24-1 SEC record might be a more realistic goal. With 23 overall wins the team has already bested the 19 of last season.
The long season has caught up with the lack of depth on the mound, and the hitting has fallen off considerably. The defense was very strong early in the season, but has also had bumps in the road over the last several weeks.
Who Did What ?
- Cobie Vance 4-11, two home runs, three RBI, three walks, two runs, Sac Fly
- Sam Praytor 3-10, home run, three walks, three runs, RBI
- Jett Manning 3-9, three walks, stolen base
- Jeaux Breaux 2-11, two home runs, four RBI, two walks, four runs, robbed of two extra base hits
- Keith Holcombe 3-9, Walk, RBI, stolen base
- Team- 20-96 (.208), 22 walks, 38 strikeouts
Finals next week, so no mid week game. Mississippi State comes to town for three games next weekend. Game times are at 6 p.m. on Friday and Saturday (both on SEC Network Plus), and a 3 p.m. Sunday game that will be on ESPNU. After that a road trip to LSU and a home series with Ole Miss will wrap up what has become a long season.
Roll Tide, Bama Baseball Fever, Catch it
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