A five-run eighth was not enough for Alabama baseball, as the Crimson Tide’s comeback came up just short in Saturday’s 6-5 loss to Georgia. Following the midday contest, the Tide is 16-4 overall and 1-1 in Southeastern Conference play.

“I’m really proud of the way our kids are competing,” said Alabama head coach Brad Bohannon. “Individually and as a team, in a 56-game season and in the Southeastern Conference, there’s going to be a ton of ups and downs, even during a game. Two games into our league schedule, and we’ve done a good job of competing for nine full innings. I think that’ll be good for us going forward if we can keep this same competitive spirit.”​

Alabama had one hit through its first seven innings before the bats woke up for five runs on four hits and an error in the eighth. The tying and winning runs reached for UA with two down in that same inning, but Alabama was unable to capitalize on the opportunity.

Georgia struck first for the second day in a row, hopping out to a 4-0 lead in the top of the first. After a leadoff single followed by a walk placed runners on first and second, a double scored a pair for the Bulldogs. One out later, a walk followed by a single plated one more before an infield groundout scored the inning’s final run.

The Bulldogs added two more in the fifth, using a two-out rally to extend the lead. Georgia recorded a two-out single and was gifted a wild pitch to put the runner in scoring position before a double brought one run across. In the next at-bat, a single through the left side crossed one more run for the Bulldogs, making it a 6-0 contest.

Alabama made it interesting in the eighth, with the offense putting up five runs and setting things at 6-5. Redshirt sophomore Connor Stutts started the rally, reaching base on a hit-by-pitch. Freshman Sam Praytor followed with a single before a walk to junior Jett Manning loaded the bases for Alabama and forced the UGA starter out of the game.

Cobie Vance, a junior, proceeded to single off the Bulldog reliever, moving everyone up a station and scoring one in the process. One out later, senior Chandler Avant cleared the bases with a grand slam to left. Following Avant’s grand slam, the Tide reached one on a two-out error before a Keith Holcombe single through the right side put runners on the corners. The Crimson Tide could not get the key hit to even things up, as an 0-2 flyout ended the inning.

Avant led all hitters with a 2-for-4 day that included his grand slam, four RBI and one run scored. The two-hit effort was Avant’s team-leading 13th multi-hit effort of the season. Also adding a hit for the Crimson Tide were Vance, Holcombe and Praytor.

Jake Walters (2-2) suffered the loss in the starting effort. The senior allowed six runs on six hits and three walks while striking out six. After a four-run first, Walters settled in to retire 13 consecutive batters heading to the fifth, where the Bulldogs would collect three hits and two runs, proving to be the difference on the afternoon. The Crimson Tide bullpen followed for 3.1 scoreless frames to keep the game within reach but the Tide came up just short.

Alabama and Georgia return to the diamond tomorrow at 2 p.m. CT to decide the series. The finale will feature a pair of left-handers, with the Crimson Tide sending redshirt freshman Garret Rukes to the mound while the Bulldogs counter with freshman Ryan Webb. Sunday’s matchup can be seen nationally on SEC Network with Mike Morgan and Mike Rooney calling all the action once again.