Alabama Baseball Suffers Late Loss to No. 21 Arkansas, 8-5
Alabama baseball suffered an 8-5 loss to No. 21 Arkansas on Sunday afternoon at Sewell-Thomas Stadium. After the Crimson Tide rallied to tie the game in the seventh, the Razorbacks plated three ninth-inning runs to claim the Sunday win and the series victory. With the loss, Alabama moves to 13-15 overall and holds a 2-7 mark in SEC play.
“Tough game, tough game. I hate that we come out on the bad end of that thing,” said Alabama head coach Greg Goff. “I thought we just made a few too many mistakes and gave up a few runs that we probably shouldn’t have. There are things that we have to clean up as a coaching staff, and we have to get our guys ready to make those plays that decide a game.”
Arkansas jumped out to an early 3-0 lead, but Alabama answered with a three-spot in the bottom of the third to tie things up. The Razorbacks scored a pair in the sixth to regain the advantage, but the Tide battled back once again to match with a pair of runs in the bottom of the seventh. The two teams went scoreless in the eighth before Arkansas pulled away with a three-run ninth inning for the win.
The Tide offense was led by its 1-through-3 hitters, who batted a combined 8-for-15 (.533) with four RBI and four of the Tide’s five runs scored. Leading the pack was the two-hole hitter in Chandler Avant, who finished 4-for-5 with a double and a pair of runs scored, setting a new career-high mark for hits in a game. The Tide’s No. 3 hitter, Kyle Kaufman, recorded all four of the team’s RBI, finishing with a home run and a run scored as part of his 2-for-5 day. Sophomore leadoff man Cobie Vance collected two hits for his team-leading 11th multi-hit game, going 2-for-5 with a run scored.
Alabama starter Nick Eicholtz faced 18 batters in 3.1 innings before giving way to Garrett Suchey (1-3). Suchey threw a season-long 5.0 innings and provided the Tide time to battle back, but suffered the loss by day’s end.
Arkansas brought home the first run of the game in the second. A leadoff double followed by a sacrifice bunt and a sac fly gave the Razorbacks the 1-0 lead. Arkansas threatened again later in the inning with runners on second and third before Eicholtz pitched out of the jam with a groundout. In the third, back-to-back, one-out singles and a walk loaded the bases for Arkansas. The next man up singled home two runs to give the Razorbacks a three-run lead heading to the bottom of the third.
Alabama tied the game with Kaufman’s three-run homer in the bottom half of the third. The rally started with a pair of two-out singles from both Vance and Avant to set the stage for Kaufman’s second home run of the season.
With one out and Suchey on the mound in the top of the sixth, Arkansas had a batter reach on a missed third strike and then that man advanced to second in the next at-bat on a wild pitch. After a walk put runners on first and second, a groundout advanced both runners into scoring position. The next Hog hitter singled into right field to bring home two and help Arkansas regain the lead, 5-3.
An inning later, Alabama had runners on second and third with two outs and Kaufman at the plate. The Tide’s designated hitter singled to bring home both runners and tie the game once again, this time at 5-5.
Arkansas opened the top of the ninth with back-to-back singles and advanced both runners 90 feet with a sac bunt. Davis Vainer entered in relief of Suchey and struck out the first batter he faced before intentionally walking the Razrobacks’ No. 5 hitter to load the bases. The next batter sent a two-RBI single to right to give Arkansas the lead. A third run would score on a wild pitch in the next at-bat to give the Razorbacks control of the game at 8-5.
The Tide will travel to Troy on Tuesday, April 4, before returning home to host the Trojans on Wednesday, April 5. Both games will start at 6 p.m. CT with the contest in Tuscaloosa airing live on SEC Network+.