Alabama baseball’s comeback fell short, as the Crimson Tide suffered a 3-2 loss to No. 21 Houston on a rainy Saturday at Sewell-Thomas Stadium. With the loss, Houston claims the series victory as the Tide falls to 10-4.

“We just didn’t do the job that we needed to when we got to their bullpen today,” said Alabama head coach Mitch Gaspard. “We felt like that was an area where we could do some damage in the back of the game, and really, the opportunity presented itself just as we thought in the eighth inning. We just weren’t able to deliver in that spot.”

Facing a 3-2 deficit, Alabama used a Cougar fielding error to put one on with one out in the eighth. A single to center by Chance Vincent followed by a Chandler Taylor walk loaded the bases for UA before Houston called on its bullpen. The pitching change worked in the Cougars’ favor, as the new arm forced a groundout and pop fly in foul territory to end the Alabama threat. Keith Holcombe extended the Alabama ninth with a two-out single, but nothing would come of the hit before the game’s final out.

Holcombe led the Tide in hitting, finishing 2-for-5 with one RBI and a run scored. Also contributing a pair of hits on the day were Connor Short and Vincent, who both finished 2-for-3.

Jake Walters (1-2) suffered his second loss of the season despite another strong outing that saw the sophomore go 5.0 innings and allow three runs (two earned) on six hits with one walk and six strikeouts. The sophomore tossed 88 pitches before handing the ball over to his bullpen. The Crimson Tide relievers shined once again, with freshmen Brock Love and Sam Finnerty combining to throw four scoreless frames and punching out four in the process to keep the Tide in the game.

Houston kicked off the day’s scoring in the third, loading the bases with two outs on a pair of singles and a hit-by-pitch. An infield single deep to third base allowed the game’s first run to cross and gave the Cougars a 1-0 advantage. The Cougars put two on in the fourth before a double steal resulted in a throw in to left field to allow the first run of the inning to score. One out later, a single to center crossed the second run and put Houston in front, 3-0.

Alabama narrowed the gap in the bottom of the fifth, scoring two runs on two hits in the frame. A one-out double from Hunter Webb gave the Tide a runner in scoring position, before Holcombe came through with an RBI-single, advancing to second on the throw. A flyout to right allowed Holcombe to move to third, and a wild pitch in the next at-bat got away from the Cougar catcher to allow Holcombe to score easily, setting the tally at 3-2.

The Crimson Tide reached at least one runner in the sixth, eighth and ninth innings, but was unable to capitalize on any opportunities.

“When you face arms (like Houston’s starters), you’re typically are going to get one or two opportunities,” Gaspard added. “We had our shot in the eighth, we just didn’t deliver right there. It’s a long season. We’ve got some nice qualities as a team, but we’ve just got to continue to get better as we approach conference play because the competition is only going to continue to increase here in the next few weeks.”

Sunday’s series finale is scheduled for a 1 p.m. CT start at Sewell-Thomas Stadium. The Crimson Tide have not determined a starter, while Houston will throw junior left-hander John King. Fans can catch all the action on SECN+ with Roger Hoover and Lance Cormier in the booth.