On the night of April 15th, the Alabama baseball team was riding high: an eight game winning streak, six of which were in the SEC, and a 6-3 victory over the number one Tennessee Vols. As the night ended, the Tide was 8-5 in the SEC and the 4th seed in the conference. Fast forward to May 15th and Bama is now 10-16 in league play and 4-12 overall in their last 16 games with four one run losses. The Tide is 6-12 in one run games this season and is now 27-24 on the season, and the 11th seed at this point.
Alabama and Auburn were set for a three game series on the Plains this past weekend, but only two games were able to be finished. The Tide lost a 3-2 heartbreaker on Friday night followed by a 6-4 defeat on Saturday. Sunday’s game was plagued by bad weather and was eventually cancelled in the bottom of the 5th with the score 1-1. The game became a no contest.
Game One: Lost 3-2
Garrett McMillian took another hard luck loss on Friday night in close, tight affair that the Tigers won by a score of 3-2. McMillian and Mason Barnett squared off and both held their opponent scoreless through the first four innings. Barnett was helped by two double plays to help keep the Tide off the board early.
The Tigers broke through in the bottom of the 5th with some small ball and clutch two out hitting. Brody Moore led off with a single and advanced on a sac bunt from Mason Land. After a strikeout for out two Cole Foster fought off several two strike pitches to single Moore in. Foster raced toward the plate on a double from Blake Rambusch and was fortunate to make it home. Bama centerfielder Caden Rose made a strong throw to cutoff man Jim Jarvis who turned and gunned the ball to catcher Dominic Tamez. Tamez was unable to hold on to the ball for the out and was also kicked in the face on the play. After being checked out Tamez left the game and was replaced by Will Portera. A fly out ended the frame with AU ahead 2-0.
The Tide answered back in the top of the 6th. Andrew Pinckney laced a one out single and scored in front of Drew Williamson’s 8th home run of the season to tie the score at two each.
In the sixth, the Tigers used a one out hit batter, a stolen base, and a run scoring hit to take the lead. The damage was limited when Rose threw out Brooks Carlson at the plate after a single from Land.
Bama was unable to score over the last three innings with Auburn turning another double play in the 8th. In the 9th, William Hamiter singled with one out and was replaced by pinch runner Tommy Seidl. With two outs and Seidl on the run, pinch hitter Owen Diodati hit a looper that looked like it had a chance to hit grass. With the speedy Seidl blazing around the bases he likely would have scored but second baseman Garrett Farquhar made the reaching grab to end the game.
The Tide hit 7 for 31 in the game, walked three times, struck out nine times, committed one error, and left five men on base. Auburn was 7-29, drew three walks, struck out 11 times, had one hits batter, and left seven on base. Pinckney finished 3-4 with a double and run scored and Williamson was 2-4 with a run and two driven in. The only other hits for the Tide were singles from Portera and Hamiter. McMillian fell to 4-4 with the loss, allowing five hits with two walks, six strikeouts, and three runs over 5.2 innings.
Game Two: Lost 6-4
Jacob McNairy has shined his last few outings as the Tide’s Saturday starter. He had another strong start on Saturday but it wasn't quite enough as the Tide let an early 4-0 lead get away. Trace Bright started for Auburn and lasted only one inning, but was bailed out by his bullpen.
The Tide jumped on Bright early and often. Caden Rose was elevated to the lead off spot and walked to start the game on a nine pitch at bat. Jim Jarvis singled behind him to put two on with no outs. After a strikeout and fielder’s choice Bama had runners on 1st and 3rd with two outs. Dominic Tamez lined a single to score Rose and William Hamiter followed with a long blast for a three run home run and a quick 4-0 lead.
Tommy Seidl then singled and Zane Denton walked. Nine hole hitter Bryce Eblin hit a ball to deep left field that Mason Land hauled in as he crashed into the wall. Little did we know that would be the last scoring chance for the Tide in the game.
McNairy cruised through the first four innings before allowing a lead off home run to Bobby Pierce in the bottom of the 4th. Tommy Sheehan replaced Bright in the 2nd and carved up the Tide over his four innings on the hill.
In the 5th, the Tigers cut into the lead with a little help from the Tide. An infield single and a hit batter put two on with no outs. On a ball back to the mound McNairy cut down the lead runner at third base. Auburn slugger Sonny DiChiara hit a weak ground ball to first baseman Drew Williamson that could have ended the inning with a double play. Williamson made the play and in trying to guide the ball around the runner, and hit second baseman Bryce Eblin (since the Tide was in a shift) with an awkward lead throw the ball sailed into left field. One run scored and another followed on a single from Blake Rambusch, to cut the Bama lead to 4-3.
The Tigers small balled the game to a tie in the 6th after a single, sac bunt, and another two out single from Nate LaRue. Meanwhile Sheehan had handcuffed the Tide, allowing only a single and a walk through the 5th inning before being replaced by Carson Swilling.
The Tigers used some more two out clutch play in the 7th to score their next two runs. Dylan Ray replace McNairy and got the first two batters he faced out on just five pitches. A single and stolen base put Rambusch in scoring position and he raced home on a Pierce single. Another single and a wild pitch brought Pierce home for the 6-4 lead. Landon Green tossed the 8th for the Tide and had a perfect inning with two strikeouts.
Swilling and Chase Allsup made quick work of the Tide over the final four innings, combining to allow one hit with three strikeouts. The Tigers bullpen combined to go eight innings while allowing only two singles and two walks with seven strikeouts after Bright allowed four runs on four hits with two walks in his only inning of work.
Bama finished 6 for 32 in the game with three walks, one hit batters eight strikeouts, one error, and five left on base. Auburn hit 12-34, had zero walks, one hit batters, three strikeouts, and six left on base. Hamiter was 2-4 with three RBI and his third home run of the year. Tamez was 1-4 with the only other run driven in for the Tide.
Game Three 1-1: No Contest
The 3 p.m. start for the SEC Network ended up not allowing this game to be finished. A delay at the start of 30 minutes because of lightning somewhere in the area was just the beginning. Once the game got underway Grayson Hitt was on the mound for the Tide against Tiger ace Joseph Gonzalez.
The Tide had a one out single from Dominic Tamez in the 2nd but he was erased on a double play ball. In the third Bama had something going. Tommy Seidl led off with a single and was racing toward third on a single from Zane Denton. As he rounded second Seidl’s feet went out from under him and he tumbled down and was out as he tried to dive back into second base. And naturally the next play was a double play to end the inning.
In the 5th, Drew Williamson led off with a double and scored after a double from Tamez. The Tide catcher’s blast hit off the top corner of Auburn’s green monster in left center field, just missing leaving the park by inches.
Jim Jarvis sac bunt advanced Tamez but a ground ball and fly out ended the inning.
Auburn got two singles to start the 5th followed by safety squeeze bunt to tie the score. An intentional walk to Sonny DiChiara and walk to Blake Rambusch load the bases with one out before a lightning strike stopped the game for a minimum of 30 minutes. As more lightning hit the clock kept resetting to 30 minutes. Eventually a huge down pour followed at which point the tarp was put on the field. The rain stopped, the field was repaired, and the teams warmed up, only to have another lightning strike.
At this point, the archaic SEC rule that no inning on get away day could start after 7 p.m. came into play. Another lightning strike after 6:30 left no chance for the game to start back and it was declared a no contest since Auburn didn't get to finish their at bat in the 5th.
In stats that will not count, the Tide was 5 for 16 with no walks, two strikeouts, and one left on base. Auburn was 4-16 with four walks, three strikeouts, and five left on base. Including Sunday’s non game the Tide hit 18-79 for .227 average with six walks, 19 strikeouts, and 11 left on base. Auburn was 23-79 for .291 with seven walks, 17 strikeouts, and 18 left on base.
Who Did What ?
- Drew Williamson 4-9, home run, double, walk, 2 RBI, 3 runs.
- Dominic Tamez 3-8, double, 2 RBI, run
- William Hamiter 3-10, home run, 3 RBI, run
Another near miss for the Crimson Tide in a season full of them. As of today, the Tide is 11th in the SEC standings with the first 12 making the SEC Tournament. The no contest has Bama two games ahead of Mississippi State in the loss column and ahead of Missouri and Kentucky as well. Coming down to the last weekend of the season to try and get into the conference tournament wasn't the Tide’s plan this year, but here we are.
Next up for the Tide is the final series of the year against Top 5 Arkansas. The games will be in Tuscaloosa on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday. The games are at 6 p.m. on Thursday on the SEC Network Plus, at 7 p.m. on Friday on the SEC Network and back to the app on Saturday for a 1 p.m. contest.
Roll Tide Roll
Bama Baseball Fever, catch it