After close wins in low scoring games on Tuesday and Wednesday, 5-3 over Georgia and 4-3 over Arkansas, the Alabama Crimson Tide had to try and play in a way they aren't well equipped for. The Tide had to try and outscore Texas A&M and Florida in slug outs and that isn't the type game Alabama will often win. The Aggies took down the Tide 12-8 on Friday night and Florida prevailed 11-6 on Saturday morning. Both games were much closer than the final score indicates.
Friday Night: Lost 12-8 to Texas A&M
Sophomore left hander Grayson Hitt took the mound for the Tide vs right hander Nathan Dettmer. As they did in the first two games Bama jumped out to an early lead, but this time they couldn't hang on. Caden Rose singled to start the bottom of the first but was forced out on a ground ball from Andrew Pinckney. In trying for a double the ball was thrown away allowing Pinckney to scoot all the way to third base. Drew Williamson lifted a sacrifice fly to center field, allowing Pinckney to score.
The Aggies answered in the top of the second on a single, a double, and a sacrifice fly of their own. In the bottom of the second the Tide scored three times to take a 4-1 lead. Tommy Seidl and Jim Jarvis singled to open the inning and both scored on a triple to right field by Rose. Pinckney hit a dribbler to third that was booted to allow Rose to score. Bama tacked on two more in the fourth with Rose once again the catalyst. The speedy lead off man singled with one out and stole second before scoring on a Pinckney single. Pinckney stole second and scored on a Dominic Tamez single. Tamez stole second and advanced to third on a throwing error, but could not score. By the end of the 4th the Tide had a 6-1 lead with eight hits and the Aggies had committed five errors.
TAM started their comeback in the top of the 5th on a two out, three run home run by Dylan Rock which chased Hitt in favor of Landon Green. Green recored the last out of the 5th and returned for the 6th inning. After walking Ryan Targac and hitting Troy Claunch Green was replaced by Brock Guffey. Guffey got a strikeout for the first out but walked a man, hit a batter, allowed a single, and threw a pick off away at second base to extend the inning. Rose made an outstanding running, sliding, catch for the second out before Luke Holman replaced Guffey. With the bases loaded Holman hit the first batter he faced to force in a run before getting out three on a line drive to second base. After the long, eventful, half inning the Aggies had taken the lead at 7-6.
Holman returned for the 7th and allowed two singles and a walk with two strikeouts before being replaced by Hunter Furtado. The first batter Furtado faced, Trevor Werner, smashed a long three run home run to make the score 11-6. The Tide tried to mount a rally in the bottom of the 6th. Tamez singled and Owen Diodati walked to start the frame. Zane Denton singled to load the bases with no outs. Bryce Eblin crushed a ball that just missed leaving the park for a grand slam (and a score of 11-10) and had to settle for two run double. With runners on second and third and no outs the Tide could not push any more across the plate. Two strikeouts were followed by Rose just driving a ball to deep center that was pulled in just inches from the fence.
Furtado allowed another run in the 8th before being replaced by Braylon Myers with two outs. Myers recorded the last four outs with no more damage but the Tide only got a single from Eblin over the last two innings.
Bama hit 13-40 in the game, walked just twice, struck out nine times, stranded nine runners. stole a season high four bases. and committed one error. Texas A&M was 11-36 with eight walks, three hit batters, 10 strikeouts, and left nine on base. Rose led the team with his 3-5 night with two runs, two RBI, a triple, and a stolen base. Denton was also 3-5 while Tamez was 2-5 with an RBI and run scored while Eblin was 2-4 with a double and two runs driven in. Guffey fell to 2-4 with the loss.
Saturday’s game: Lost 11-6 to Florida
In a wild, early morning, game the Tide and Gators traded runs early before Florida pulled away at the end to win 11-6 and advance to play another game. The loss ended the Tide’s season-for now at 31-27 and 14-19 in just SEC games-including the tournament.
Garrett McMillian was called on to start for the Tide after having his Tuesday start cut short after lengthy rain delay. McMillian started game one with Georgia and pitched two innings and 40 pitches before a two hour rain delay.
The day did not start well for McMillian when Wyatt Langford hit his third pitch of the game for a long home run. A walk, hit batter, RBI double, and two run single followed and the Tide was in a 4-0 hole after the top of the first inning. However the Bama squad had some fight in them and answered in the bottom half. Caden Rose continued his late season surge and doubled to start the bottom half of the inning. A ground out moved Rose to third and he easily scored on a single by Dom Tamez. Drew Williamson walked and with two outs Zane Denton drilled his 13th home run of the year to tie the game 4-4.
In the top of the 2nd Langford blasted his second home run in as many innings and his 23rd of the year to give the Gators the lead back. McMillian hit a man and walked a man and was replaced with two outs by Jake Leger. Leger induced a fly ball to end the inning. In the third Florida added a run off of Leger to make the score 6-4. Bama got a lead off single from William Hamiter and a two out home run to dead centerfield by Drew Williamson to tie the game up again.
Leger continued for the Tide and tossed a scoreless 4th and 5th inning. In the 5th a double play turned by Jim Jarvis and Bryce Eblin helped keep the Gators off the board. In the 6th the Gators retook the lead. A walk and a single put runners at 1st and 3rd with no outs. A ball up the middle hit off of Leger and caromed to Jarvis who turned a nifty 1-6-3 double play, however the go ahead run scored on the play. Dylan Ray was then called out of the pen and struck out Ty Evans to end the inning.
Nick Ficarrotta had replaced Gator starts Anthony Ursitti in the third and handled the Tide with ease over the last 6.1 innings. Bama did squander a golden opportunity in the 6th when Eblin doubled and went to third on a Rose single with two outs. Both runners were stranded after a pop out ended the threat. Ray wiggled out of a huge mess in the top of the 7th when he hit the lead off man and then allowed a double to put runners on 2nd and 3rd with no outs. A ground out on a fantastic play by Denton at third base followed by a strikeout and fly out left the runners in scoring position.
Ray had an uneventful 8th and to keep the game at one run and hopeful of a 9th inning comeback. With one out Ray walked Jud Fabian on four pitches. With a 1-2 count Florida called a hit and run which forced Jarvis to break for second base to cover for the stolen base attempt. Left handed hitting Jac Caglianone could not have placed the ball better as he hit it right where Jarvis WAS in position for what would have been a tailor made double play ball. A ground ball to Jarvis by Josh Rivera scored a run when Fabian beat the throw to the plate- according to the umpire and upheld by review- to make the score 8-6. With two on and two outs Ray was replaced by Antoine Jean who was greeted by Mac Guscette with a three run home run on the first pitch he threw. The Tide entered the bottom of the 9th suddenly down by a score of 11-6. Rose-that man again- led off with a single but never got further than second base.
Alabama hit 10-37 in the game with three walks, nine strikeouts, one hit batter, and eight men left on base. Florida was 12-38 with five walks, three hit batters, five strikeouts, and eight men left on base. Rose was 3-5 with a double and run scored, Williamson finished 2-3 with two RBI, two runs scored, two walks, and his 9th home run of the season. Denton was 1-3 with three driven in, all on his team leading 13th home run of the year. Leger fell to 1-1 on the season with the loss.
Over the four games in the tournament the Tide hit 33-125 for a .264 average, had 16 walks, six hit batters, 39 strikeouts, 33 men left on base, stole seven bases, had two sac bunts, and two sacrifice fly’s. The four opponents combined to hit 34-138 for a .246 average, drew 17 walks, had nine hit batters, struck out 41 times, made seven errors, and left 27 men on base.
Who Did What?
- Caden Rose 7-16, 5 runs, triple, double, 3 walks, stolen base
- Zane Denton 7-17, home run, 4 RBI, 2 runs, HBP
- Dominic Tamez 4-15, 4 BB, 4 runs, 2 RBI
- Drew Williamson 4-14, Home run, double, 2 walks, 5 RBI, 2 runs, 2 sac fly
- Ben Hess W (3-1) 4.1 innings pitched, one hit, one walk, 10 strikeouts
- Dylan Ray 2 Saves (8) 3.3 innings pitched, two hits, one walk, six strikeouts
The story of the tournament for the Tide was taking down Georgia and Arkansas in their first two games and the emergence of freshman right handed pitcher Ben Hess. Hess was a huge recruit coming in and struggled early with injuries. His performance against Georgia was season saving for Bama. Alabama finished 2-2 with UGA on the season and 3-1 over the highly regarded Razorbacks.
What is next?
Wait and see. The NCAA Tournament selection show will be at 11 am on Monday and can be seen on ESPN2. It remains to be seen if the Tide has done enough to get in. There are some very good wins, and some head scratching losses. The team’s RPI is in the low to mid 40’s and strength of schedule is 2nd in the nation . Some projections have the Tide as last team in, but as conference tournaments wrap up tomorrow be weary of bid stealers.