Alabama Baseball Hangs Close but Falls to Seventh-Ranked Florida, 10-5, on Sunday Afternoon
Alabama baseball's comeback effort fell short, as the seventh-ranked Florida Gators claimed a 10-5 win on Sunday afternoon at Sewell-Thomas Stadium. With the loss, the Crimson Tide moves to 19-32 overall and 5-22 in SEC action.
"I thought (Florida) answered, for the most part, pretty much all weekend," said Alabama head coach Greg Goff. "You can't give a good team freebies. Two of their first three runs got on by walks, and then we made errors. They took advantage of the walks and hit-by-pitches early on. Our guys played hard, but hats off to Florida, they just beat us this weekend.”
Alabama rallied back from a 7-1 deficit to make it a 7-5 contest after seven. The Crimson Tide put up a four spot in the seventh to make things close, but Florida answered back with three in the top of eighth to put the game out of reach.
The Crimson Tide began the day’s scoring, grabbing an early lead with one run in the first. Chandler Avant led off the game with a triple to deep center, and a one-out walk from Chandler Taylor put runners on the corners. With a guy 90 feet away, Hunter Alexander followed Taylor with a sacrifice fly to center to bring Avant across, giving the Tide a 1-0 lead after one full.
Florida responded, scoring five runs over the next three frames to gain the advantage. A leadoff walk in the second followed by a passed ball moved a runner into scoring position for the Gators. One out later, a double scored one for UF to even the contest at one apiece. With a runner on third, a misplayed ball on the infield allowed the inning’s second run to cross to put UF in front, 2-1.
In the third, a one-out walk and a stolen base moved a man to second for the Gators. After a groundout advanced the runner to third, a wild pitch allowed one to score to push the UF advantage to 3-1. With two down in the fourth, a pair of singles and a walk loaded the bases for Florida before another single scored two to increase their lead to 5-1 after four frames.
The Gators put up single tallies in both the fifth and sixth innings to extend the advantage to 7-1. The Crimson Tide chipped away at the lead in the home half of the seventh, adding four runs to trim the deficit to two. Sam Finnerty began the scoring sequence, drawing a one-out walk. With two down, Walker McCleney sent a double to right before Avant reached on a hit-by-pitch to load the bases for UA. In the next at-bat, Cobie Vance delivered a bases-clearing double down line in left to score three. After stealing third, an errant throw on the play allowed Vance to come across and score, making it a 7-5 ballgame after seven full.
In the eighth, Florida plated three runs on the back of two home runs to set the score at 10-5, the eventual final.
Sunday was Alabama’s “Senior Day” honoring the Crimson Tide’s four seniors: Tanner DeVinny, Nick Eicholtz, Mike Oczypok and Taylor Poe. DeVinny (catcher) and Eicholtz (pitcher) each got the start, while Poe pinch-hit for the Tide. Oczypok pitched in his final home game in Saturday’s contest.
“I'm just so appreciative of our seniors and what they've done in my first year (at Alabama),” Goff said as he wrapped up his press conference on Sunday. “They've made my transition easy by being great guys. I'm very thankful for the opportunity to be able to coach them for a year."
The Crimson Tide will close out the regular season with a three-game series in Nashville against Vanderbilt from Thursday-Saturday, May 18-20. Games one and two are set for 6:30 p.m. CT starts with the series finale scheduled for a 1 p.m. CT first pitch. All three contests can be seen on SEC Network+.