The Crimson Tide baseball team will be waiting on pins and needles until Monday morning when the NCAA Regional teams will be announced. The Tide finished 2-2 in the SEC Tournament this week, losing out with an 11-0 loss to 4th ranked Tennessee on Friday morning. Bama defeated South Carolina 9-3 in game one, beat Tennessee 3-2 in 11 innings in game two, before losing 7-2 to Florida and the Vol’s to be eliminated. Many around the country feel that the 31-24 record and 4th ranked SOS will be enough for the Tide to receive a bid.
Coach Brad Bohannon called on the normally reliable Landon Green to start in Friday’s game. Green had a scoreless first inning before a single by Evan Russell was followed by a long home run from Luc Lipcius to give UT all the runs they would need. Tennessee freshman Blade Tidwell was mowing down Tide hitters with little to no problem. After a hit batter, two doubles, and a single, Green was replace with one out in the third by Connor Shamblin. Two infield singles and an error ensued, helping the Vol’s to score five times in the frame.
Russell blasted a two run homer in the fourth to pad the lead to 9-0. In the SEC Tournament there is a run rule that stats if a team is ahead by eight runs after seven innings the game is over. Although they played through the 7th, this one was long over before then. Shamblin gave up back to back home runs to Liam Spence, the Vol’s Australian shortstop, and Max Ferguson before being replaced by Will Freeman. Freeman got six straight outs to keep the margin to 11-0.
Offensively the Tide never threatened. The team was held to two hits, both of which came off the bat of Sam Praytor. Praytor also had a hard hit line out in his 2-3 game. Drew Williamson returned from hand surgery to play for the first time in three weeks and was robbed of a hit by right fielder Jordan Beck in the only other ball that Bama players hit hard all game.
Bama finished 2-23 with two walks, six strikeouts, and four left on base. Tennessee was 11-34 with one walk, eight strikeouts, and nine left on base. Green took the loss and dropped to 3-2 on the year, and his ERA almost doubled fo 5.91. Tidwell pitched six innings, allowing two hits, two walks, and five strikeouts and improved to 8-3 on the season while utilizing a fastball that was 96-99 mph all game and a wipe out slider that gave the Tide trouble.
Peyton Wilson finished 6-17 in the four games to lead the offense. Praytor was 4-14 with two RBI, a double, a stolen base and two runs scored. Jackson Tate drove in five runs to lead the team. Tyler Ras got the win in game one with six strong innings, while Brock Guffey earned a three inning save. Chase Lee got the win in game two with 4.2 innings of clutch relief in the game two victory over Tennessee.
The Crimson Tide may very well have done enough in the tournament to earn a bid, defeating a top 20 team in South Carolina, and the 4th ranked team in Tennessee during the week. Florida was ranked 13th when the defeated the Tide. Now the wait and see game beings, which is definitely an improvement over the last four years of knowing there was no chance of getting a bid.
Bama baseball fever, Catch it