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Alabama Baseball drops two in Baton Rouge: Jake Walters, John Trousdale shine in tough series loss

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Jake Walters was the star, as Alabama takes one of three from LSU in Baton Rouge

Jake Walters.

The Crimson Tide baseball team was eliminated from the SEC Tournament by losing two of three to LSU this weekend. The top 12 teams in the league qualify for the tournament. The Tide will finish 14th in the 14 team league, but has shown improvement from the 2017 disaster, posting an overall record of 26-27 and 7-20 in the SEC. The Tide blew a big lead on Friday night, losing 7-5. It won 6-1 on Saturday, but were defeated 7-3 in the rubber game on Sunday.

Game One: Lost 7-5

This was a tough loss. After controlling play for the majority of the game the Tide imploded and allowed six runs in the bottom of the eighth to give away another possible Friday night win. Last Friday night with a 11-5 lead over Mississippi State, Bama allowed six runs in the eighth, and eventually lost to MSU in extra innings.

The Tide jumped to an early lead by scoring twice in the second when Sam Praytor led off with a single and advanced to third on a one out double by John Trousdale. Both men scored on a two run single by Jett Manning. Bama used two walks, two hit batters, and a two run Keith Holcombe single to extend the lead to 4-0 in the top of third, but missed a chance to blow the game open by stranding the bases loaded. LSU got within one run in the bottom of the third on a dropped fly ball and RBI double.

The first three Tide batsmen reached base in the fourth before two strikeouts and a pop-up left them all standing. That lost opportunity would cost the Tide dearly. After jamming the bags in the fourth, 12 straight Tide batters then went down without reaching base.

In the eighth, the Tide looked to put the game away. Trousdale slammed his second double of the game and scored on another Manning single. However, once again, three runners were stranded, setting up the team’s disastrous bottom-eight.

Starter Sam Finnerty pitched 6.2 strong innings, allowing only six hits, and one unearned run. He was relieved in the seventh by Deacon Medders. Medders night started innocently enough with a ground out to short. The second batter also grounded to Manning at shortstop. But when Manning made a fielding error, the flood gates opened. Two walks then an RBI single cut into the lead before a bases-loaded walk ended Medders night. Sam Gardner replaced him, and he was greeted by a three-run homer off the bat of Beau Jordan that completely erased the lead.

The Tide then went down quietly in the ninth, losing 7-5.

The Tide collected nine hits, five walks, had three hit batters, struck out 10 times, and stranded a costly 10 runners on base. The Tigers had 10 hits with six walks, one strikeout, and 10 runners stranded. Manning had two hits and three runs driven in, while Trousdale was the only other Tide hitter with multiple hits. Holcombe drove in two.

Game Two: Won 6-1

The story of game two was senior right-hander Jake Walters. Walters pitched a career high eight innings and totally controlled the Tigers, as the Tide won 6-1. Again the Tide jumped out to an early lead with four runs in the second, highlighted by Cobie Vance’s monstrous three run home run to left. Kyle Kaufman added an RBI on a sacrifice fly. Vance singled in another run in the third for a 5-0 lead.

Meanwhile Walters was being efficient with his pitch count, never throwing more than 17 in any one inning. Double plays in the first and second inning erased early base runners. The Tigers only real threat cam in the fourth after a lead off double and a one out RBI single cut the margin to 5-1. Another twin killing from Jett Manning and Chandler Avant snuffed out the rally.

The Tide continued to get multiple base runners in most innings, but could not add any insurance until Jeaux Breaux lined an RBI single in the seventh inning. Walters kept the Tigers at bay, with the only threat in the bottom of the eighth. After two quick outs a walk and and error led to thought of deja vu, but Walters got a pop out to end the inning.

Walters had reached 104 pitched through eight innings, and as much as he wanted to garner the complete game, coach Brad Bohannon sent freshman left hander Brock Guffey to the mound in the ninth. Guffey allowed only an infield single, and closed the door on the Tides 6-1 win over the Tigers.

The Tide had nine hits, drew 10 walks, got hit twice, struck out 11 times, and stranded 15 runners on base. The Tigers were held to five hits, with three walks, three strikeouts, and five runners stranded. Walters improved to 3-5 on the season with his outstanding performance.

Game Three: Lost 7-3

For the third straight day, the Tide jumped out to an early lead plating one run in the second. After Sam Praytor reached on an error, he scored on a double by the steady John Trousdale. LSU answered in the bottom-half on an Austin Bain ome run off of Garret Rukes. But, like Saturday’s affair, the Tide bats went cold, and LSU took the lead for good in the second, scoring on a single by Beau Jordan.

Daniel Cabrea slammed a long two-run home run in the fifth for a 4-1 Tiger lead. The Tide cut into the lead on a solo home run by Keith Holcombe in the sixth. The long ball was the second of the season for Holcombe. LSU used three singles and two doubles and three singles off a combination of Tide relievers to push the lead to 7-2 in the sixth inning.

‘Bama tried to come back in the ninth, getting lead off triple from Trousdale followed by a run scoring double off the bat of Jett Manning. Jeaux Breaux added a walk, but the Tide stranded both runners, ending the game with a fly out to right field.

The Tide had seven hits, two walks, one hit batter, three strikeouts, and stranded nine runners on base. The Tigers had 10 hits, two walks, three strikeouts, and left five runners on base. Trousdale finished a home run short of the cycle, with a single, double, and a triple, scoring one run and driving in one. Holcombe added a single to his home run, and was the only other Bama player with multiple hits. Rukes suffered the loss, falling to 1-3 on the season.


Another series that the Tide could have won.

A four-run lead going into the bottom of the eighth in game one, when if felt as if the Tide had control all the way, was a heartbreaking game to lose. Sam Finnerty deserved a much better fate after the way he pitched. The year-long problem of stranding baserunners — particularly in scoring position — reared its ugly head in that loss. Jake Walters was outstanding again, and finally got some run support in game two. In game three, the team just never seemed to get any momentum going, and the bullpen let the game get out of reach again. After doing an outstanding job for two-thirds of the season, the innings have caught up to a thin relieving corps.

Who Did What?

  • John Trousdale 6-11, three doubles, triple, BB, four runs, RBI
  • Jett Manning 4-11, four RBI, two BB, double, run
  • Jeux Beaux 4-10, four BB, two HBP, two runs, RBI, two SB, reached base 10 times
  • Keith Holcombe 3-12, four RBI, HBP, Sac bunt, run, Home run(2)
  • Jake Walters 8 IP 4 H 3 BB 3 K, 1 ER Win (3-5)
  • Sam Finnerty 6.2 IP 6 H 3BB 1 K, 0 ER

What’s Next?

Last series of the year, Ole Miss at home. Game one Thursday at 6 p.m., Friday at 6 p.m. and Saturday at 1 p.m. All Available on SEC Network Plus, Watch ESPN App. Also can follow on Twitter @rogerpatmyers

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