Alabama Baseball Falls, 12-6, in Back-and-Forth Contest at 19th-Ranked Texas A&M
Alabama baseball suffered a 12-6 loss to No. 19 Texas A&M in a back-and-forth contest on Thursday evening at Blue Bell Park. Following the series opener, the Crimson Tide is now 21-14 overall and 5-8 in Southeastern Conference play.
“I thought our guys competed about as well as we can for the first six innings of tonight’s game,” said Alabama head coach Brad Bohannon. “Unfortunately, things really sped up on us in the seventh and eighth innings, and A&M did a good job of capitalizing on our mistakes. Hopefully, we can learn from tonight’s game and play a complete nine innings tomorrow.”
Alabama jumped out to an early 3-0 lead in the top of the third, but the Aggies used two runs apiece in the third and fourth innings to gain the 4-3 advantage. The Crimson Tide recorded three runs in the sixth, but A&M answered again, this time with one run in the sixth and two in the seventh to move in front, 7-6. Texas A&M would add five more in the bottom of the eighth to put the game out of reach at 12-6.
Texas A&M reliever Cason Sherrod (3-1) got the win with Nolan Hoffman recording his sixth save of the season. Alabama reliever Dylan Duarte (3-2) suffered the loss, throwing 1.1 innings and allowing three runs – only one earned – on three hits while adding two strikeouts.
The Alabama offense totaled 10 hits on the night with seven of the nine starters recording at least one knock. Junior Keith Holcombe led the way, going 3-for-4 with a double and a run scored. Also contributing a multi-hit effort was Chandler Avant, with the senior finishing 2-for-4 with his team-high 11th double of the season while adding one walk. The two-hit night was Avant’s team-leading 17th multi-hit effort of the season.
Alabama was first on the board in Thursday’s contest, putting up a three-spot in the top of the third. Holcombe led off the frame with a hustle double, turning what would typically be a single into a two-bagger. The effort would pay off, as a sacrifice bunt moved Holcombe to third before a 6-3 groundout from junior Matt Malkin crossed the leadoff man for the Tide’s first run of the evening.
Junior Cobie Vance drew a four-pitch walk in the next at-bat and an error on an infield popup off the bat of Joe Breaux, also a junior, afforded the Tide extra chances in the frame. Avant then drew a walk to load the bases before fellow senior Hunter Alexander singled through the left side for two RBI, making it a 3-0 game in favor of the Crimson Tide.
The Aggies cut the lead down to one in the home half of the third. With a runner on, A&M homered to left-center to set the score at 3-2 after three innings of play. Texas A&M would go in front an inning later, scoring a pair in the bottom of the fourth. A leadoff, ground-rule double followed by a one-out double brought in the tying run. One out later, a bunt single to third scored the go-ahead run to give the Aggies their first lead of the game, 4-3.
Alabama regained the advantage in the top of the sixth, scoring three runs once again to take the 6-4 lead. Junior Chandler Taylor led things off with a walk before a double from freshman Sam Praytor put the pair in scoring position. The Aggies were forced to go to the bullpen, with the reliever getting out No. 1. The inning’s second out then came on a 6-3, RBI-groundout from junior Jett Manning to bring in the tying run. In the next at-bat, Malkin continued his hot hitting, sending a two-run home run to deep left-center, putting the Tide in front once again.
A&M answered back with one run in the bottom of the sixth, using a solo homer to make it a 6-5 contest. The Aggies got a two-out single to put one more on and threaten in the sixth, but a groundout to short got Tide starter Sam Finnerty out of the jam to keep the Crimson Tide in front after six full.
The Aggies took back the lead in the seventh. A Tide misplay in the opening at-bat of the inning reached the leadoff man. Two outs later, a single put Aggies on the corners before a double to left-center scored both runners to set the score at 7-6, Texas A&M.
Texas A&M added five more runs in the bottom of the eighth, using four hits, three walks and an error to take the 12-6 lead, the eventual final. Alabama threatened in the ninth, getting a one-out single from Avant and a two-out single from Taylor to place runners on the corners, but a 4-3 groundout ended the game in the Aggies’ favor.
Alabama will look to even things up on Friday night in game two of the series. The Crimson Tide will send senior right-hander Jake Walters to the mound while the Aggies will counter with righty Mitchell Kilkenny, a junior. Friday’s contest is slated for a 6:30 p.m. CT first pitch on SEC Network+.