Alabama Baseball Falls to Jacksonville State in Extra-Innings Affair, 2-1
A wild pitch in extra innings proved the difference on Tuesday evening, as Alabama baseball fell, 2-1, to Jacksonville State in a 10-inning contest at Sewell-Thomas Stadium. With the loss, the Crimson Tide moves to 3-5 overall on the season.
“Jacksonville State is a great program, and a lot of respect goes to coach (Jim) Case, but we’ll get through this,” said head coach Greg Goff. “We’ve got to continue to play hard and things will start to go our way. Our guys are better than we’re playing right now, and we’ll regroup before we come out to practice on Thursday.”
The two teams went scoreless through the first three frames, before Alabama broke the tie in the bottom of the fourth with one run. Chandler Avant led off the inning with a single, his second hit of the evening, before advancing to second on a Gene Wood sacrifice bunt. Cobie Vance crossed Avant in the next at-bat, sending a tailing liner down the right field line for an RBI-single to make it a 1-0 contest through four.
Jacksonville State answered with a run of its own in the next half inning, evening things up in the top of the fifth. The Gamecocks led off the frame with a single before advancing a runner to second on a sac bunt. Following a Tide pitching change, JSU sent a single to center to plate the tying run and make it a 1-1 contest after five.
The final four frames were scoreless on both sides, sending the game into extra innings. In the top of the 10th, the Jacksonville State leadoff hitter walked before advancing to second on a balk. A wild pitch moved the leadoff man to third before a wild pitch over the catcher in the intentional walk attempt went to the backstop and scored the game-winning run.
Alabama starter Garret Rukes tossed 3.2 innings of scoreless baseball, allowing four hits while striking out three in his first career start. The Crimson Tide then turned it over to its bullpen, using seven pitchers to combine for nine strikeouts, highlighted by 2.1 innings from Garrett Suchey, who struck out three in the process. The Tide arms stranded 12 batters on the night, but the strong pitching effort was not enough for the win.
On offense, Alabama was led by Avant, who finished 3-for-4 with a run scored. Vance also contributed a multi-hit effort, going 2-for-4 with one RBI to extend his hitting streak to eight games this season.
Alabama will resume action on Friday, March 3, for the start of a three-game series at Sewell-Thomas Stadium against the ULM Warhawks. Friday’s weekend opener is set for a 6 p.m. CT first pitch while the second game of the series on Saturday is scheduled to start at 2 p.m. CT. The series finale between the Crimson Tide and Warhawks is slated to begin at 1 p.m. CT. Fans can catch all the action live on SEC Network+.