Oh, how one day can make such a difference. The Crimson Tide easily won their first game in Lexington over the Kentucky Wildcats by a score of 10-1 in a dominating performance. However, an all day rain on Saturday forced a doubleheader for Sunday. By rule If a double header is needed on ““get away day” the games must be seven inning affairs. Two innings doesn’t sound like much, but it totally changes games plans, strategies, and pitching rotations. The Cats did a much better job of adjusting to the changes than the Tide. Sunday’s game one was a 5-2 Cat win and game two was an 11-0 demolition of the Tide. Bama fell to 24-15 overall and 8-10 in the league, after briefly being at .500 at 8-8, and UK Improved to 24-13 and 10-8.
Game one: Won 10-1
The story of the game was junior right handed Tyler Ras. Ras pitched the best game of his Alabama career, going seven full innings, allowing three hits, one run, striking out six, and not walking a batter.
The Tide got on the board in the first when TJ Reeves singled, stole second, and scored on a two out double from Owen Diodati. Bama added two in the third when Peyton Wilson doubled and scored on a triple from William Hamiter to deep center. Hamiter’s blast just missed leaving the park. Sam Praytor lined a two out single for score Hamiter for a 3-0 lead.
TJ Collett slammed a long home run in the fourth for the Cats only run of the night. We will hear much more from Collett as the series continues. The Tide put the game away in the seventh when 11 men went to the plate and seven of them scored.
Jim Jarvis started the inning with an infield single, and advanced to third on Wilson’s second double of the night. Hamiter got an RBI on a fielders choice, and also reached base on an error. Praytor then drove in another run with a sacrifice fly to center field. Reeves got an RBI with a bases loaded walk, and Diodati’s third hit of the game drove in another.
Ras finished the seventh strong, striking out two. Hunter Ruth took over in the 8th and got six up, six down, while striking out three batters along the way. The Tide finished 11-39 with two walks, one hit batter, seven strikeouts, and six runners left on base. The Cats were 3-26 with no walks, nine strikeouts, and one runner left on base. Diodati was 3-4 with a double, two RBI, and a run scored. Wilson and Jarvis added two hits each, and Praytor, Hamiter, and Jarvis joined Diodati with two RBI apiece. Ras improved to 6-1 on the season.
Game Two: Lost 5-2, 7 innings
If Dylan Smith is starting you can count on the Tide not scoring. Despite being a bright star in the weekend rotation, Smith has yet to notch a win this year, today’s loss dropped him to 0-5 on the season. The Cats scored twice in the third on back to back doubles, the first of which was a bloop to left the TJ Reeves dove for but just missed grabbing. The second one scored the first run and was a flare to right field. An ““excuse me” two strike, just get the bat on the ball, fell in for the second run allowed in the inning. Bama had a great chance to score In the fourth when Sam Praytor doubled to lead off and went to third on a balk. After a strikeout for out one, Reeves hit a fly ball to short right field and Praytor was thrown out at the plate trying to score and end the inning.
The Cats continued their hit them where they ain’t path and loaded the bases in the fourth on a bunt single and two other infield singles, Smith escaped the threat with out allowing a run.
Coltyn Kessler touched Smith for a long ball in the fifth, and after a single by the next batter Smith was lifted for Connor Shamblin. With the first pitch he threw Shamblin hit John Rhodes with a pitch, and then allowed a two run double to Ryan Ritter before retiring the side.
The Tide finally the scoreboard in the sixth. Praytor reached with one out after being hit by a pitch. Owen Diodati then lifted his 10th home run of the season over the fence in right to cut the margin to 5-2. Jim Jarvis led off the seventh with a single, bringing Peyton Wilson to the plate. Wilson hit the ball sharply but first baseman TJ Collett turned a slick double play to stop any momentum the Tide had. A pop out to short ended the game to even the series at one win each.
The Tide finished 6-25, with one walk, three hit batters, five strikeouts, and six runners left on base. UK was 13-30, drew no walks, had one hit batter, nine strikeouts, and left eight on base. Smith allowed 11 hits in 4.1 innings, with six of them being either infield hits or bloop hits. The junior right hander struck out six and walked none. Drew Williamson had two singles and Diodati drove in both runs.
Game Three: Lost 11-0, 7 innings
With Connor Prielipp and Antoine Jean both not available, the Tide called on William Freeman to start game three. Freeman has been outstanding all year in a number of different roles, however no one was stopping the Cats in this one. Zach Lee started on the mound for the UK and carved the Tide up, allowing only one base runner, a first inning single by William Hamiter, but a double play erased him and Lee faced the minimum 21 batters in the game, striking out six and not walking anyone while using only 75 pitches.
Kentucky put the game away in the second, hitting three home runs and scoring six runs. Freeman allowed two solo home runs, followed by two bunt singles and an infield RBI hit. Landon Green was brought in and allowed a three run home run to TJ Collett to push the lead to 6-0. Green pitched a scoreless third and fourth before being relieved by Chase Lee in the fifth. Lee had allowed only one run all season, but was bombarded by three solo home runs in his one inning, including the second by both Collett and John Rhodes.
Meanwhile, the Tide hitters continued to go down in order inning after inning. Eli Giles was the next Bama hurler brought in to try and stymie the surging Wildcat barrage. Giles allowed a lead off triple and an RBI single before getting a double play. Grayson Hitt replaced Giles to face Collett with a left on left matchup. Collett launched his third bomb of the game, and fourth of the weekend, deep over the right field fence. Two walks and a single came next, loading the bases. Jake Eddington replaced Hitt and recorded a strikeout to end the inning. Bama went down weakly in the 7th and were shutout for the first time this season, by a score of 11-0.
The Tide finished 1-21 with no walks, five strikeouts, and no runners left on base. The hot hitting Cats were 14-29, Including seven home runs, with three walks, four strikeouts, and four left on base.
For the weekend Bama hit 18-85 for a .211 average, drew only three walks, had three hit batters, struck out 17 times, and left 11 runners on base. Kentucky batted a robust .341 with 29 hits in 85 at bats, drew three walks, struck out 21 times, and also left 11 on base.
This was a disappointing series loss, especially after Friday nights opening game win. The Tide played one of their most complete games of the year in game one, followed by two lifeless losses. Game three was the only contest all year that the team had no chance. Typically when they have been down this year they have battled back and given themselves an opportunity late.
Who did what?
A very short list:
- Owen Diodati: 4-9, double, home run, 4 RBI, 2 runs
- Peyton Wilson: 3-8, 2 doubles, HBP, 2 runs
- Jim Jarvis: 3-8, double, 2 RBI, BB, run
- Tyler Ras: W (6-1) 7 IP 3 H 0BB 6 K 1 R
- Hunter Ruth: 2 IP 0 H 0 BB 3 K
A flight home and then a trip up 59 to play Birmingham U on Tuesday night at Regions Field. The game is at 6 p.m. Missouri will come to Tuscaloosa for a three game series on the weekend, Friday at 6 p.m., Saturday at 2 p.m., and Sunday at 11 a.m. The first two will be available on SEC Network Plus, while the Sunday game will be on the SEC Network, hence the 11 a.m. breakfast first pitch.
Bama Baseball Fever, Catch it