The Alabama Crimson Tide played top ranked Texas toe to toe on Friday, Saturday, and for six innings on Sunday, but could not pull out any wins losing 1-0, 2-0, and 6-1 to fall to 5-3 on the season. The Tide pitching staff did about all they could but the offense was not able to offer much support during the series. The Friday and Saturday games were played in cold, damp, and windy conditions while Sunday was coolish, but at least the sun was shining.
Game One - Lost 1-0
Alabama started junior right hander Garrett McMillian on the mound on Friday against Texas lefty Pete Hansen, who was an All American last year after going 9-1 with an ERA of 1.88. McMillian was up to the task and gave the Tide six scoreless innings while allowing three hits, walking two and striking out three. Hansen lasted five innings allowing four hits with one walk and eight strikeouts.
Bama had two out doubles from Tommy Seidl in the second and Drew Williamson in the third but could not advance them any further. McMillian allowed two baserunners in the third but was able to get out of the jam to keep the game scoreless. The big Hillcrest and Shelton product got stronger as the game went on and retired nine of the last 11 hitters he faced. The Tide had a great chance in the top of the fifth when Andrew Pinckney and Caden Rose both collected one out singles, followed by a two out walk to Dominic Tamez to load the bases. A deep fly out to right field by Zane Denton ended the threat for Bama.
Redshirt freshman righty Dylan Ray replaced McMillian to start the seventh inning. After striking out the first batter, he allowed a single and then hit Longhorn shortstop Trey Faltine with a curveball. For some reason Faltine decided to bow up and tried to start something by motioning like he was going to the mound, which would not have gone well for him. Cooler heads prevailed and the game continued. A wild pitch advanced both runners and a passed ball after a signal mess up allowed Skyler Messinger to cross the plate with the game’s only run. Ray saw one pitch called and catcher Tamez saw another leading to the mishap. Ray struck out the side in the frame.
The Tide had another great chance in the top of the eighth but couldn’t capitalize. William Hamiter drew a one out walk and moved to second on a single by Owen Diodati. After Seidl popped out, Jim Jarvis walked to load the bases. Will Hodo was called on to pinch hit and was left with the bat on his shoulder on a strikeout looking. Bama had a final chance in the ninth. Williamson lined his second double of the game with one out and moved to third on a wild pitch. Tamez struck out for the second out and Denton popped out to end the threat and the game on the wrong end of a 1-0 game.
Bama out-hit Texas going 7-35 with four walks, 12 strikeouts, with 12 men left on base. The Longhorns were 5-29 with two walks, seven strikeouts, and seven left on base. The loan run in the game was unearned. Individually Williamson was 2-5 with two doubles, Seidl was 2-4 with a double, whole Rose was 1-3 with a walk. Ray was the losing pitcher going two innings with two hits allowed, no walks, four strikeouts, and one unearned run allowed.
Game Two Lost 2-0
On a cold, rainy, miserable day the Tide once again was not able to score. The start of the game was pushed back an hour to allow the last of the rain to pass through. Junior left hander Antoine Jean drew the starting assignment on the mound against Texas Golden Spikes Award nominee right hander Tristen Stevens.
Jean tossed two perfect innings before being touched for one run in the third on doubles by Trey Faltine and Douglas Hodo III. The Longhorns used good old fashioned small ball to add another run in the fourth. The ol’ get ‘em on, get ‘em over, get ‘em home worked to perfection. Ivan Melendez led off with a single, was sacrificed to second on a bunt by clean up hitter Mitchell Daly, and scored on a two out single by Austin Todd.
Alabama’s best chance to dent the scoreboard was in the sixth when Drew Williamson and Zane Denton both singled, the only inning the Tide had two base runners on at the same time in the game. Wake Forest transfer Hunter Furtado replaced Jean on the mound in the sixth and pitched three perfect innings with one strikeout while flashing a 94 miles per hour fastball in 30 degree weather.
For the second game in a row the Tide out hit the Horns, finishing 5-32 while walking once, striking out eight times and leaving six men on base. Texas finished 4-27 with one walk, three strikeouts, and three runners left on base. Individually Denton was the only Tider to reach base twice with a single and a walk.
Game Three- Lost 6-1
Sophomore left hander Grayson Hitt started for the Tide against Tanner Witt for Texas. Witt was a freshman All American last season with a 5-0 record and an ERA of 3.16. Hitt survived the first three innings, allowing three singles, but got in trouble in the fourth. A lead off double and then a walk put two runners on with no outs. The Longhorns went to small ball again with a sac bunt by fifth place hitter Silas Adroin. It was fielded by Hitt but he threw wildly to first base, pulling second baseman Will Portera off the bag. A ground out to shortstop Jim Jarvis plated one run as the only viable play was at first base.
Landon Green was called out of the bullpen to replace Hitt at that point. Jarvis fielded another ground ball and tossed out the lead runner at third base for out two. Green canned the next batter to end the inning down only 1-0.
In the top of the fifth Bama tied the game with their only run of the weekend. The Canadian Cannon, Owen Diodati blasted a long home run over everything in right field to tie the game. Tommy Seidl followed with a single and stole second base to get in scoring position with one out. A strikeout and a pop up left the Harvard transfer stranded. In the top of the sixth Bama was able to load the bases on singles by Andrew Pinckney and Drew Williamson and a walk to Dom Tamez, but again couldn’t get a run across.
Green was replaced by freshman Luke Holman in the sixth and the Horns ended up putting the game away with three runs. A lead off double by Mitchell Daly got things started. Jarvis made a great play to tag Daly out on a ground ball in the middle for out one. After a walk Skyler Messinger hit a high chopper to the mound that Holman lost in the sun allowing the bases to be loaded. Brock Guffey was brought in to replace Holman and gave up a two run single and a one run single before getting the last two outs. Headed to the top of the sixth the Tide trailed 4-1. Bama had another chance in the seventh when Seidl led off with a single and stole second base, followed by a hit by pitch to Caden Rose. Rose was picked off first and a fly out and strikeout ended the frame.
Texas added two runs in the eighth off of Hunter Hoopes and despite two singles in the ninth the Tide could not score again, ending the game on the wrong end of a 6-1 score.
Bama finished 7-32 with one walk, one hit batter, 12 strikeouts, and seven left on base. Texas won the hit battle this game going 13-35 with three walks, four strikeouts and nine left on base.
Individually Seidl was 3-4 with a stolen base and Diodati had the only run scored and RBI with his solo home run. Holman was the losing pitcher.
Most thought that winning one game this weekend would have been a success. The Tide had good chances to win the first two games, and were in the third game for two-thirds of it. The pitching and defense did their part, but the offense could not break through to help out. At time needing a fly ball, ground ball, or a big two out hit the team couldn’t come through time after time. The Longhorns are number one for a reason and came up big when they needed to. A hard fought series but the Tide came up short.
Starting second baseman Bryce Eblin has now missed four straight games with an injured shoulder and will likely miss several more. Even worse, right fielder and clean up hitter William Hamiter broke his foot In the middle of game two and will be unavailable for the foreseeable future. The series was a good dress rehearsal for SEC play and the Tide now knows what to expect and what they will need to do going forward. Bama has a deep and talented pitching staff that will keep them in games and now look for the offense to catch up.
Who did what:
*Tommy Seidl 5-12, double, stolen base
*Drew Williamson 4-13, two doubles
*Andrew Pinckney 3-9
*Owen Diodati 2-12, home run, RBI, run
*Garrett McMillian 6 IP, 3 H, 2 BB, 3 K, 0 R
*Hunter Furtado 3 IP, 0 BB, 1 K, 0 R
Five games next week, Tuesdsy at 3 p.m. vs UT Martin, Wednesday at 3 p.m. vs Troy, amd a three game series with Murray State on the weekend.
RTR Bama Baseball Fever, Catch it