Alabama Baseball Downed by Ole Miss on Friday, 7-2
Alabama baseball suffered a 7-2 loss to Ole Miss in the series opener on Friday evening in front of 8,456 fans at Swayze Field. The Crimson Tide now sits at 13-17 overall and 2-8 in Southeastern Conference play following tonight’s game.
“Our guys really came out there and competed against one of the best arms in the league (James McArthur), but we didn’t take advantage of some opportunities there early in the game,” said Alabama head coach Greg Goff. “He wasn’t at his best early, and when you have an arm like that on the ropes you have to take advantage of that. I think tonight we let him off the hook in the first few innings and he settled in after that.”
The Crimson Tide was able to strike early with one run in the top of the first, using a leadoff walk and two wild pitches to get a man into scoring position before scoring him two outs later. Alabama then led off the second with a single, and another wild pitch put the man in scoring position, but the Tide was not able to bring him across. Ole Miss starter James McArthur (2-1) would not allow another Alabama baserunner to move past first the rest of the night and went on to retire the final 10 batters he faced before his outing was over.
McArthur earned his second win of the season thanks to 7.0 frames of one-run baseball. He allowed two hits and issued three walks while striking out seven. Tide starter Dylan Duarte (2-2) suffered the loss, working 5.0-plus innings and allowing five runs on six hits and two walks with four strikeouts. Duarte cruised through the first three innings, allowing just one hit and striking out four before running into trouble an inning later. A four-run fourth gave the Rebels all the runs they would need, and then a solo home run to begin the sixth ended the lefty’s night.
Alabama staked itself to a 1-0 lead after just a half inning of play for the quick advantage. Chandler Avant drew a leadoff walk to start the game before using a pair of wild pitches to move himself to third. Another walk put runners on the corners before a 4-6-3 double play killed two but crossed Avant for the game’s first run.
The two teams went scoreless until the bottom of the fourth, when the Rebels plated four runs on four hits, including three RBI-doubles. The Ole Miss inning began with a leadoff single and the first RBI-double of the sequence, scoring the tying run on the two-bagger. The next Rebel batter followed suit with another double, plating the man from second to give the Rebels their first advantage of the night. Alabama was able to get the next two outs, but the third and fourth runs of the inning crossed on one more RBI-double and a pair of wild pitches to make it a 4-1 Ole Miss advantage after four full.
In the sixth, the Rebels added two more on a pair of solo home runs to make it a 6-1 game. The leadoff man sent a solo shot to left to end Duarte’s night and force a Tide pitching change. After the swap, UA was able to record two outs before Ole Miss notched another solo homer to widen the gap after six. The eighth saw the Rebels add one more, using a one-out hit-by-pitch and walk to place two on before a slow roller snuck through the right side for a two-out RBI-single, making it 7-1 in favor of Ole Miss.
Alabama put together a rally in the ninth, but it was not enough. The Crimson Tide received a leadoff single from Cobie Vance followed by a walk from pinch-hitter Connor Wright to put two on with no outs. One out later, Alex Webb singled deep in the hole at second, leading to an errant throw to first that got by the man covering to cross Vance and move both Wright and Webb into scoring position. The Rebels would bounce back to get the final two outs of the night and secure the 7-2 win.
Alabama and Ole Miss meet for game two of the series tomorrow afternoon at Swayze Field. First pitch for Saturday’s game is set for 3 p.m. CT with senior right-hander Nick Eicholtz on the mound for the Crimson Tide and lefty David Parkinson, a junior, countering for the Rebels. The contest can be seen on SEC Network+.