The Crimson Tide baseball team had multi run 9th inning leads in all three games versus Mississippi State this weekend, but could only secure one victory. Bama held a two run lead in the 9th on Friday and a three run advantage on Saturday but managed to lose both games before bouncing back with a 6-2 win on Sunday. The Tide is now 14-11 on the season and 2-4 in the SEC. The Bulldogs improved to 15-10 and 3-3 in conference play.
Game One: Lost 7-6 in 10 innings
Garrett McMillian took his normal Friday night starting slot for the Tide agains Preston Johnson for MSU. McMillian was touched for one run in the bottom of the second on a lead off single by Brad Cumbest and a run scoring double by Jess Davis.
The Tide had a big third inning to take a 3-1 lead. Owen Diodati led off with a walk and was followed by a single from Andrew Pinckney. After a fly out for out one Caden Rose bounced a double into the bleachers down the left field line to plate Diodati. Bryce Eblin then executed a perfect suicide squeeze bunt to score Pinckney. Lead off man Jim Jarvis then blasted his team leading third triple of the year to bring Rose across.
McMillian held the 3-1 lead through six innings, working his way out of trouble time after time. With one out in the sixth McMillian had reached 105 pitches and was replaced by Brock Guffey. Guffey retired the final two batters in the sixth and the Tide held their 3-1 lead. In the top of the 7th Bama got a two run double from Owen Diodati to seemingly take control with a 5-1 lead.
In the bottom of the 7th Guffey retired the first two batters easily before running into trouble. Uncharacteristically the left hander walked the next two batters, looking uncomfortable all the while. After a visit from trainer Sean Stryker and pitching coach Jason Jackson, Guffey was forced to leave the game. Redshirt freshman Dylan Ray was called in to face Kellum Clark. On a 3-2 pitch Clark drilled a ball over the right field wall to pull the Dogs within one run at 5-4. Ray bounced back to strike out Cumbest to end the inning.
The Tide went in order in the 8th and Ray struck out two Bulldogs in a perfect bottom of the 8th. Bama added an insurance run in the top of the 9th. Tommy Seidl was hit by a pitch, stole second base, and scored on a single by Dominic Tamez. With the 6-4 lead the Tide stuck with Ray to try and close out the victory. After striking out the lead off man and getting a fly out, Bama was one out away from the win. MSU catcher Logan Tanner was at the plate one strike away from the game ending, but walked on a close 3-2 pitch. Designated hitter Hunter Hines then curled a home run around the foul pole in right to tie the game at 6-6.
In the top of the 10th Pinckney led off by being hit by a pitch. Drew Williamson attempted to sacrifice him to second but his bunt was caught in the air on a sliding catch by Kamren James, who then was able to double Pinckney off of first base. Rose followed with a single but was stranded, setting up the bottom of the 10th. Ray was left in the game and was touched for the game winning walk off home run from RJ Yeager. The Tide lost the heartbreaker 7-6.
The Tide finished 9-37 at the plate, drew three walks, had four hit batters, committed one error, struck out 13 times and stranded nine runners. MSU finished 9-38 with five walks, 13 strikeouts, and left nine on base. Rose led the offense with a 2-5 night with a run, RBI, and a double. Seven other players had one hit each. Seidl was 1-2 with a double, was hit by a pitch three times, and scored two runs. Diodati was 1-3 with two walks, two RBI, and a double.
Game Two: Lost 8-7
Jacob McNairy earned his first weekend start of the year on Saturday, facing off against Parker Stinnett for the Dogs. McNairy cruised through the first three innings before hitting Logan Tanner to start the 4th inning. With one out Luke Hancock launched a two run home run to stake the Dogs to a 2-0 lead.
The Tide bounced back with a three spot in the 6th to take the lead. Bryce Eblin led off with a single but was forced out at second for out two on a ground ball by Jim Jarvis. Jarvis stole second base and then scored on a single by Tommy Seidl. Zane Denton then doubled to score Seidl and finally scored on a single from Dominic Tamez, for a lead of 3-2. The potential for a bigger inning was curtailed when Drew Williamson was hit by a pitch to load the bases. However after a review Williamson was called out for not trying to get out of the way of the ball, a terrible rule in college baseball. The Dogs got an unearned run off of Jake Leger in the 6th to tie the game up at 3-3.
Pinckney, who would have been batting with the bases loaded if Williamson had reached, led off the 7th with a mammoth home run to dead center field for a 4-3 lead. In the 8th the Bulldogs got a run off of Hunter Furtado on a bases loaded wild pitch to tie the game. The Tide struck for three runs in the top of the 9th. Pinckney led off with a double and scored on a one out double by Caden Rose. Jarvis then singled Rose in and Seidl doubled Jarvis in to give the Tide a lead of 7-4, leading to the disaster of the bottom of the 9th.
Furtado remained in the game for the Tide and allowed a lead off double to Kamren James, followed by an RBI double from Kellum Clark to cut the lead to 7-5. Logan Tanner then hit a screaming line drive to left center that Seidl just missed snaring but left the park to tie the game at 7 each. Hunter Hoopes was then called from the pen and got a ground out for out one. A walk followed by a single and a pop out brought Tanner Leggett to the plate. The .175 hitter liner to left to plate the winning run across and another excruciating loss by a score of 8-7.
The Tide finished 10-35 with four walks, 11 strikeouts, one hit batters, two errors, and six runners left on base. State was 14-41 with two walks, 10 strikeouts, two hit batters, and left nine men on base. Pinckney was 2-4 with two runs, a double, a home run, and a run driven in. Seidl finished 2-5 with two RBI, a double, and a run scored. Denton was also 2-5 with a double, RBI, and run scored. McNairy went five innings allowing six hits with no walks, seven strikeouts, and two runs allowed.
Game Three: Won 6-2
Sophomore left hander Grayson Hitt remained the Sunday starter for the Tide and faced off with Cade Smith. The Dogs got an early run in the first after a lead off walk and a two out double for an early 1-0 lead. The Tide tied things up in the second. Diodati walked to start the inning then advanced to second on a two out single from Bryce Eblin. Drew Williamson then lined a single to tie the game at 1-1.
Bama took the lead in the 4th when Dominic Tamez led off with as single and scored on a double off the bat of Eblin. Hitt started mowing down the Bulldogs helped by two 5-4-3 double plays. The Tide improved the lead to 3-1 when Williamson hit a long home run over every thing in right field. Hitt worked out of a two base runner jam in the sixth to finish his outing with a 3-1 lead. The third out was recorded on a fly ball to left center that Tommy Seidl and Caden Rose collided on, but Seidl was able to hold on to the ball for out three and avert disaster.
Antoine Jean, who had been the Saturday starter previously, replaced Hitt to start the 7th inning. Hitt finished hit outing allowing four hits, with four walks, five strikeouts, and one run. Jean got the first two batters in the frame but allowed an infield single to Lane Forsythe and a single to Matt Corder to put a runner in scoring position. Shortstop Jim Jarvis couldn't cleanly field a ball for an error to load the bases. Jean hit Luke Hancock with a pitch to force a run in and cut the lead to 3-2. The Montreal native worked a scoreless eighth, only allowing a harmless two out single.
The Tide added insurance in the 9th. Williamson led off with a walk before Rose tried to bunt him over, but popped out. Jarvis tried to drag bunt for a hit but was thrown out, advancing Williamson to second. MSU elected to intentionally walk Seidl to bring up Zane Denton with two outs. Denton laced a single to scored Williamson and was followed by RBI singles from Diodati and Tamez for a 6-2 lead.
With a four run lead the Tide stuck with Jean, who promptly walked the lead off batter for the Dogs. A fly ball to right for out one followed, and a fielders choice yielded out two. Hancock lifted a short pop to no man’s land in center field that Rose came sprinting in and dove for the catch to end the game with Bama on top 6-2.
Alabama hit 9-34 in the game with seven walks, one hit batter, 10 strikeouts, one error, and nine men left on base. State was 7-33 with five walks, six strikeouts, a hit batters, and 10 left on base. Williamson was the offensive star with a 2-3 game with two runs, two RBI, a walk, and a home run. Eblin was 2-4 with a double and run driven in, while Tamez was 2-5 with a run scored and one driven in. Hitt was the winning pitcher and improved to 2-0 while Jean earned his first save of the year.
Who Did What?
*Dominic Tamez 4-14, 3 RBI, run
*Zane Denton 4-15, 3 runs, 2 RBI
*Tommy Seidl 3-10, 3 HBP, 2 doubles, 4 runs, 2 RBI, 2 walks
*Owen Diodati 2-8, 3 RBI, 6 walks, 1 HBP, 1 double, 1 run
*Jim Jarvis 3-11, 2 runs, 3 walks, 1 stolen base, 1 triple, 2 RBI, 1 sac bunt
*Andrew Pinckney 3-12, 3 runs, 1 HBP, 1 BB, 1 double, 1 home run, 1 RBI
*Grayson Hitt W (2-0) 6 IP, 4 hits, 4 walks, 5 strikeouts, one run allowed
*Antoine Jean S (1) 3 IP, 3 hits, 1 walk, 1 strikeout, 1 unearned run
The Tide woulda, shoulda, coulda, had a sweep in the series, but showed a lot of fortitude to battle and take the victory on Sunday. The starting pitching was outstanding all weekend combine for 21.1 innings pitched allowing 16 hits, walking six, striking out 18 and allowing only four earned runs. Offensively the team hit 28-106 for a .264 average, drew 14 walks, had five hit batters, struck out 34 times, and stranded 24 runners on base.
The back end of the bullpen is going to need to get straightened up and should receive help as Landon Green works his way back from injury. Green is a fourth year junior that was looked upon to be the closer this season.
Typically when teams lose games in the painful way that Alabama did on Friday and Saturday, they shut down on Sunday and get blown out. To their credit this group just kept on fighting and was able to salvage the final game. Next up will be four home games for the Tide. South Alabama comes to town Tuesday for a 6 p.m. first pitch and Texas A&M will visit over the weekend for a three game set with games at 6 p.m on Friday, 4 p.m. on Saturday, and 1 p.m. on Sunday. Saturday’s game will be shown on the SEC Network and all the others will be available on the SEC Network Plus.
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