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Alabama Baseball comes up short in Super Regional opener at Wake Forest

In game one of the Winston-Salem Super Regional, the Crimson lost to top seed Wake Forest 5-4. Game two will be at 11am CT on Sunday

Syndication: Tuscaloosa News
Caden Rose blasted two long solo home runs for the Tide in their loss to Wake Forest
Gary Cosby Jr.-Tuscaloosa News / USA TODAY NETWORK

The Alabama Crimson Tide baseball team has grown accustomed to sitting and waiting this season. After starting anywhere from two to three hours late in each of their Regional games last weekend, and getting finished well past midnight, this week’s Super Regional opener was set for noon ET. With a beautiful, sunny, day, things were all on schedule, until they weren’t.

According to reports an ESPN employee suffered a heart attack and passed away on the field pregame. When the gates didn’t open at 10:30 a.m. as planned, questions popped up. Finally some game day officials game around and mentioned a “non team related health issue.” Several friends and colleagues went to the hospital with the victim and most decided not to work the event, understandably. ESPN had to scramble to find local people to fill several jobs for the telecast. The gates were finally opened and the game began at 2:15 ET.

The Tide’s Luke Holman faced off against Wake Forest ace Rhett Lowder. Lowder entered the game with a 14-0 record and 1.67 ERA, and is expected to be a top 10 pick in this summers MLB draft. Jim Jarvis led off the game with a sharp single for the Tide, but was picked off with Tommy Seidl at bat. Holman was greeted by a home run on his first pitch of the game to Tommy Hawke. The Tide got a one out single from Dominic Tamez in the 2nd but could not advance him.

The Demon Deacons scored twice in the bottom half, on a solo home run by Justin Johnson leading off. Bennett Lee followed with a single, advanced to second on a fly out, to third on a ground out, and scored on a wild pitch. It was a rare small ball run for the home team in their band box stadium.

The Tide struck back in the top of the third. With one out, Bama centerfielder Caden Rose launched a 425 foot missile over the left field fence to bring the Tide within 3-1. Holman struck out two in the bottom of the third and held Wake off the scoreboard. Bama tied things up in the top of the 4th. Tamez had a great 10 pitch at bat and drew the only walk of the game for either team, then newly minted Freshman All-American Colby Shelton blasted his 23rd home run of the season over everything in right field for 3-3 score,

In the bottom of the 4th Holman looked to have escaped unscathed. A strikeout and ground out brought Danny Corona to the plate. On an 0-2 pitch Corona “checked” his swing, and Tide catcher Mac Guscette appealed to 3rd base umpire Patrick Riley, who was apparently looking elsewhere at the time. Riley ruled no swing (you can see the video here) and to Corona’s credit he blasted a home run on the next pitch. The petty Riley was so embarrassed that he tossed Bama 3rd base coach Matt Reida from the game from 200 feet away. Corona admitted in the postgame interview that he no doubt swung and should have been out. Lowder settled down after Shelton’s home run and retired eight in a row until a Shelton single in the 7th. Sean Sullivan replaced him and struck out the next two batters to end the inning.

In the bottom of the 6th the Deacons scored a much needed insurance run. Brock Wilken hit a pop up in no man’s land between second baseman Ed Johnson, first baseman Drew Williamson, and right fielder Andrew Pinckney. Johnson was able to reach the ball, but it bounced off his glove for an error. The next two batters were out, but a two out single scorend Wilkin. Adian Moza replaced Holman and after allowing a single, induced a ground ball to end the inning.

In the top 8th Rose one upped himself and hit a ball over a building in left center field. Seidl added a one out single, and advanced to 2nd on a pick off attempt. Two straight strikeouts stranded Seidl. Moza had perfect innings in the 7th and 8th but the Tide couldn’t tie things up in the 9th as Sullivan struck out the side to nail down the victory for the home team.

Bama hit 7-33 in the game, had one walk, stuck out 13 times, made one error, threw one wild pitch, and left three men in base. Rose was 2-3 with his two home runs, two runs scored, and two RBI. Shelton also had a two hit game with a home run, two RBI, and run scored. Jarvis, Seidl, and Tamez had the other safeties and Tamez drew the only walk of the game. Holman was tagged with the loss and pitched 5.2 innings allowed six hits, no walks, eight strikeouts, and five runs, four of which were earned. Moza pitched 2.1 scoreless with two hits allowed, no walks and two strikeouts.

Wake Forest, one of the top offensive teams In the country, hit 7-32 with no walks, one hit batter, 10 strikeouts, and left four on base. Lowder improved to 15-0 in one of his ““worst” outings of the year. In 6.1 innings the junior allowed six hits, walked one, struck out six, and allowed three runs, all earned. Lowder entered the game with 125 strikeouts in 90 innings and an ERA of 1.67.

I don’t believe in moral victories but the Tide certainly showed they are afraid of no one and can play with any team in the country. A couple of calls (made correctly) going the other way and things could have turned out differently. After the game Rose told reporters “this was the two best teams in the country going at each other, I don’t care where they had us seeded.” That kind of confidence has carried this Tide team to places they haven’t been to in several years. Bama is now 43-20 on the year while Wake improved to 51-10.
Game two is scheduled for 11 a.m. CT and the TV coverage has not been announced yet. The Tide will send either Garrett McMillian or Jacob McNairy to the mound.

Roll Tide

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