Alabama Baseball Blows Five-Run Lead in Loss to Texas A&M
HOOVER — Alabama’s unlikely run in the SEC Tournament this year was cut short by a stuttering pitching staff. After building a five-run lead through four innings, the 11-seed Crimson Tide’s pitching staff ran out of steam as it allowed 2-seed Texas A&M to rally back for a 12-8 victory Friday night.
Alabama will now play 7-seed Florida in an elimination game on Saturday at 9: 30 a.m. CT. The winner of that game will face Texas A&M in a semifinal elimination game at 4: 30 p.m.
As was the case in wins against Georgia and Arkansas earlier in the tournament, Alabama jumped out to an early advantage Friday night, using a combination of timely hitting and poor Texas A&M fielding to take a 6-1 lead after four innings.
Only this time, the Tide’s pitching staff couldn’t maintain the lead.
Alabama lost Grayson Hitt to the game after allowing Dylan Rock, Texas A&M’s home run, to score three runs to cut the Crimson Tide’s lead down to 6-4 in fifth.
Hitt held the Aggies to just one run on two hits in the first four innings. But, he began to falter in the fifth inning when he threw seven consecutive balls. After allowing two runners to reach the base, Hitt was one strike away from breaking the tie. Then Rock’s 3-2 pitch to Rock was thrown over the left-field wall.
” These decisions are always easier when you look back at the result. However, I thought Grayson executed a lot and was really pitching well,” Alabama head Coach Brad Bohannon said about the decision to leave Hitt out of the game. “Those are difficult decisions when you know what you have in the pen. He was a scary guy, and I thought he had earned it. Grayson running sliders in on Grayson’s hands and fastballs into was a better matchup to what we had being loose in the pen.
” And no disrespect to these guys. They’re great. Sometimes they get hits, and even if it was all over again, Grayson would have that batter. Dylan Rock deserves my thanks. He took a great swing on a 3-2 breaking baseball. “
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Alabama’s implosion continued the following inning as three more Texas A&M runs allowed the Aggies to take a 7-6 lead. A pair of walks, a hit-by-pitch, and a walk loaded the bases for Texas A&M. Kole Kaler’s single tied the game. The Aggies won the game as Rock was hit with two outs and the bases loaded.
Texas A&M scored four runs to make the Crimson Tide’s misery worse in the seventh inning. Trevor Werner hit a two-out homer to score three of those runs. Eight of the Aggies’ runs were scored with just two outs.
Alabama responded with two runs in the seventh. It was scored on a bases-loaded double from Bryce Eblin. However, the team could not get more than that and left two runners on base. This pair of runs is the only time that the Crimson Tide scored more than four innings in any of its three games in the tournament.
These teams are great. Bohannon stated that you won’t score in every inning. I would love to score early, score in the middle, and score late. Hitting is difficult, and you score eight runs against Texas A&M. You have to win that game if possible. We didn’t do enough from the bullpen tonight. “
Alabama’s early lead was aided by some sloppy fielding from Texas A&M. Andrew Pinckney appeared to be about to ground into a double play after Caden Rose’s leadoff single in the bottom of the second. Pinkney reached third base with one out after a low throw by shortstop Kale Kaler bounced off Jack Moss’ glove. Drew Williamson sacrifice fly gave Alabama its first run in the next at-bat.
After allowing the Aggies in the second inning to tie the game, the Crimson Tide continued their hot hitting in the bottom half of the frame. After Jim Jarvis and Tommy Seidl had singled, Rose tripled off Alabama’s right-field wall to make it 3-1. Rose scored on Werner’s error, who hit a softly-hit groundball down the third-base line. Five errors were committed by Texas A&M on that day.
The Crimson Tide was up 6-1 in fourth quarter thanks to RBI singles by Pinckney, Dominic Tamez, before Texas A&M rallied back.
Friday’s loss snaps a five-game winning streak for Alabama (31-26) dating back to a regular-season series win over Arkansas. The Crimson Tide was ranked No. 61 team in Baseball America’s 64-team NCAA Tournament projection. Alabama, despite having won over Arkansas and Georgia earlier in the tournament’s tournament, will likely need one more win to feel confident about being named to an NCAA Regional on Monday.
” I know I’ll feel better when we win another one,” Bohannon stated. “We’re going approach tomorrow as if our season is over. If we don’t win, I’m going to tell you that. “
Final: Texas A&M 12, Alabama 8
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