Alabama Baseball Suffers Heartbreaking Extra-Innings Loss to No. 15 LSU, 4-3
Alabama baseball fell in extra innings on Saturday afternoon, suffering a 4-3 loss to 15th-ranked LSU in 11 frames at Sewell-Thomas Stadium. Following the series finale with the Tigers, the Crimson Tide sits at to 15-29 overall and 2-19 in Southeastern Conference play.
"We had our opportunities with the game on the line, we just have got to have somebody to get that base hit,” said Alabama head coach Greg Goff. “I took our guys into the locker room and told them that sometimes, when we go through things like this in life and baseball, it's difficult. The average man quits, but the winners get through and experience something that is out there in front of them. I told them that our destination is out there in front of us and not behind us."
The two teams kept it close all day, as Alabama and LSU broke even twice on the afternoon and were tied for five of the 11 innings. Alabama received a solid outing from its starter Jake Walters, who tossed a career-long 7.1 innings across a 108-pitch effort. Walters allowed three earned runs on five hits and struck out five while issuing just one walk before handing it off to Davis Vainer (0-3). Vainer worked the next 3.1 innings, keeping the Tiger offense at bay, before surrendering a run in the 11th to suffer the loss.
"(Jake Walters) just a great competitor,” Goff commented on his starter. “He's been a tremendous leader for our pitching staff. I think he grew today. He started getting outs with changeups, and I thought he really just grew as a pitcher. His pitch-count was down, and he pitched to contact more. I thought today was his best outing by far."
Alabama’s offense was highlighted by two-hit efforts from the foursome of Kyle Kaufman, Cody Henry, Hunter Alexander and Alex Webb. Both Kaufman and Alexander each finished 2-for-4, with Kaufman adding one run scored. Henry and Webb each went 2-for-5 on the afternoon, with Henry adding one RBI and a run scored to his totals.
LSU struck first in Saturday’s series finale, scoring two in the top of the first to grab an early lead. The Tigers used a leadoff single and then a two-run home run to right to plate the game’s first runs, giving LSU a 2-0 lead after a half an inning of play. The Crimson Tide responded in the next half inning, crossing two runs of their own to even the score. Back-to-back singles from Chandler Avant and Kaufman placed runners on first and second to begin the inning. After a flyout from Cobie Vance moved Avant to third, Taylor sent a sacrifice fly to deep left to score the Tide leadoff man. Henry delivered an RBI-double in the next at-bat to score one more, evening the contest at two apiece after one full.
The Tide put up a single tally in the fourth to break the tie and grab the advantage. Henry began the scoring sequence, sending a single to right-center, before Alexander doubled to put a pair in scoring position. Webb then reached on fly ball on the infield that loaded the bases for the Tide, before a double-play in Sam Finnerty’s at-bat, with the twin-killing allowing Henry to come home, giving the Tide the 3-2 advantage after four innings.
Things were evened up again in the top of the seventh, as LSU scored one. The Tigers used a fielder’s choice followed by a stolen base to move a runner into scoring position. In the following at-bat, a single allowed the tying run to come across to make it a 3-3 contest heading to the stretch.
The two teams went scoreless for the next three frames, until LSU broke the tie with a run in the 11th. The Tigers began the inning with a walk before a one-out single placed runners on the corners. A single in the next at-bat brought across the go-ahead run, giving the Tigers a 4-3 lead.
In the 11th, Webb reached for the Tide on a one-out single but Alabama was unable to bring him across, popping up twice to short to end the game.
Alabama is set to take the midweek off as the University enters exam week. Following the break, the Crimson Tide will travel to Auburn to take on the fifth-ranked Tigers at Plainsman Park. The two teams will meet for a traditional weekend series, with Friday’s opener set for a 6 p.m. CT start followed by a 2 p.m. CT first pitch on Saturday. The series will wrap up on Sunday with a 4 p.m. CT start. SEC Network+ will stream the first two games with Sunday’s series finale airing nationally on SEC Network.