Back-and-Forth Contest Goes Against Alabama Baseball in 7-4 Loss to No. 5 Vanderbilt
Alabama baseball fell in a back-and-forth contest with fifth-ranked Vanderbilt, 7-4, on Friday night at Sewell-Thomas Stadium. Following the series opener, the Crimson Tide is now 24-15 on the season and 4-12 in Southeastern Conference play.
“Obviously, a disappointing loss tonight to a really good Vanderbilt team,” said Alabama head coach Brad Bohannon. “Our guys competed well. We gave up one in the first and came out and scored in the second, then we gave up the three-spot in the fifth and answered with two in the bottom of the fifth. Your margin for error is pretty slim against a team like that. I thought (Sam) Finn(erty) had some tough luck, gave up a couple of soft-contact hits there, and in the fifth, gave up the crooked number. It was disappointing to lose tonight because I thought we played pretty well.”
Friday’s series opener saw both teams trade blows early. The Commodores got on the board in the top of the first, but UA was able to answer with two runs in the bottom of the second. Vanderbilt tied things up with one in the fourth and took a lead with three in the fifth, but Alabama came right back once again. The Crimson Tide posted two in the home half of the fifth to make it a one-run game, but a single tally by Vandy in the sixth and one more in the ninth widened the advantage to 7-4, the eventual final.
The win went to Vanderbilt starter Drake Fellows (8-0). Fellows allowed four runs on six hits and two walks across his 7.0 innings of work. Tyler Brown (8) picked up the save for VU with a scoreless ninth. Alabama starter Sam Finnerty (5-5) suffered the loss despite another solid outing. The senior allowed six runs on nine hits and two walks with four punchouts. Finnerty kept things close but the three-run, rain-soaked fifth proved the difference on the night.
Vanderbilt started the night’s scoring with a solo home run in the top of the first for the 1-0 advantage. Alabama answered an inning later with two runs in the second. Freshman Drew Williamson led off with a single and came across one out later when Joe Breaux sent a ball over the wall in right. The homer was the senior’s third of the year and gave the Tide a 2-1 lead.
The Commodores evened things up in the fourth with one run and then took a 5-2 lead thanks to a three-run top of the fifth. Alabama came right back in the home half of that fifth to cut the lead to one with a pair of runs. Junior Johnny Hawk led things off with a walk and moved into scoring position on a wild pitch. Two outs later, freshman T.J. Reeves singled to put runners on the corners for Morgan McCullough. The junior delivered, sending a double into the corner in right to plate both runners to make it 5-4 through five innings.
Vanderbilt added one more in the sixth to push the lead to 6-4. A solo home run in the ninth put the game out of reach for a 7-4 Commodore win in the opener.
McCullough and Breaux tied for the Alabama team-high total for RBI with two apiece. Holcombe led the Tide in hits with a 2-for-4 showing that included a stolen base.
Alabama and Vanderbilt return to the diamond tomorrow evening for an 8 p.m. CT first pitch at The Joe. The Crimson Tide will call on redshirt junior Brock Love, a right-hander, in the start while the Commodores counter with righty Kumar Rocker, a freshman. Saturday’s contest will air live on SEC Network.
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