Third seeded Alabama lost to second seeded North Carolina State by a score of 8-1 on Friday afternoon in the Ruston, Louisiana Regional of the NCAA Tournament. Host La Tech is playing Rider in Game Two and the Tide will play the loser of that game on Saturday. Bama fell to 31-25 on the season while NC State improved to 31-17.
The Wolfpack used the long ball, to the tune of five home runs, and strong pitching to push the Tide into the losers bracket. Things looked promising for Bama in the top of the first when William Hamiter hammered a double off the right field walk with one out, followed by a line shot off the bat of Sam Praytor. With the NC State defense in shift mode the second baseman snared the drive right behind the bag and easily doubled Hamiter up to end the threat.
The ‘Pack touched Bama starter Tyler Ras for back to back solo home runs from Luca Tresh and Devonte Brown in the bottom of the second to take control of the game. Tyler McDonough blasted a two run long ball in the third to push the lead to four to nothing. In the top of the fifth, the Tide missed a chance to get back into the game. Zane Denton lined a ball of the wall in right field, but was cut down trying to turn the hit into a double. One out later Jackson Tate hit his sixth home run of the year, making the score 4-1.
In the bottom of the fifth, NC State took advantage of two walks and a three run home run from Jose Torres, pushing the lead to 7-1.
William Freeman relieved Ras after the blast and pitched 2.2 scoreless, hitless innings. Brock Guffey pitched the 8th and gave up Brown’s second home run of the game to make the final margin 8-1. Ras fell to 7-5 on the season while Reid Johnston improved to 8-2.
The Tide finished only 4 of 29 at the plate as the bats continue to struggle in the postseason. Bama also drew three walks, had one hit batter, struck out nine times, and left five on base. NC State was 9-31 with five walks, one hit batter, four strikeouts, and left six on base. Hamiter finished 2-4 and Tate and Denton had the only other hits for the team.
Bama will play the 1 p.m. game against the loser of Louisiana Tech and Rider on Saturday. Right handed Dylan Smith will take the mound to try and keep the Crimson Tide’s season alive. The bats are going to have to wake up for that to happen. The team has collected only 41 hits in 245 at bats over the last eight games for an anemic .167 batting average.
Bama Baseball Fever, Catch it