Bama Baseball Pitching Woes Continue in Loss to MSU
Finishing off games has been a common theme in SEC play for the Alabama baseball team this season, and Saturday night's game against Mississippi State was no different. The Tide dropped the series 2-1 after an 8-4 loss.
Grayson Hitt started the game off on the mound, and was shaky at times through the first few innings. Hitt walked the first batter which came back to bite him as Hunter Hines hit a 2-run homer. Hitt walked his second straight leadoff batter in the second inning but got out of the jam with a fielder's choice, a strikeout, and a nice play by the defense.
Alabama responded to the two-run first inning by putting up two runs of their own in the bottom of the first inning. The Tide was assisted by a couple MSU errors. Jim Jarvis got on base first on a fielding error by the short stop. He would end up scoring after an error by the second baseman. Ed Johnson was walked in his first at-bat and scored on a fielder's choice the play after Jarvis scored. The game was knotted up at two a piece going into the second inning.
In the top of the third inning, Amani Larry led off with a base hit. Colton Ledbetter singled into right field which advanced Larry to third. Larry ended up scoring on a wild pitch which gave the Bulldogs a 3-2 lead. Hitt settled in, however, and wouldn't allow another run to score in the final three innings he pitched. MSU maintained that lead until the bottom of the fifth inning.
Jarvis led off with a single to third base in the bottom of the fifth. Johnson flew out to left field, and Jarvis stole second base. One play later and Drew Williamson hit a two-run homer into the Right Field Ragers to give the Crimson Tide its first lead of the game. Alabama led 4-3 for one whole inning.
Aidan Mozas then came in to pitch for Hitt, which head coach Brad Bohannon said in hindsight that he wouldn't have made the switch given the way Hitt settled into the game.
"He (Hitt) was at 96 pitches and you know, he's a physical kid," Bohannon said. "He's in shape, so that was a tough call. We had some righties coming up, and Mozas got a good breaking ball and had thrown the ball well the last two times out and thought that was a good time to get Aidan in there. If I had known that he wasn't going to get them out, I would've left Grayson Hitt in."
Ross Highfill then hit a solo homerun to tie up the game. Larry followed Highfill's homer with a single up the middle. He advanced to second on a wild pitch. The following play Ledbetter grounded out but advanced Larry to third base. Bama made another call to the bullpen and brought in Kade Woods. Woods didn't have much more success, as he walked the first batter he faced. The next play, Dakota Jordan doubled to left center, which advanced Hines to third and scored Larry. MSU led 5-4 after the seventh inning.
Woods started the eighth inning by walking the lead off Bulldog. The leadoff walk came back to bite as Kellum Clark hit a homerun the next at-bat which gave MSU a 7-4 lead. Woods recorded one out in the eighth before walking his second batter of the inning. Alabama was forced to go back to its bullpen, and called on Hunter Furtado to try and keep the team in the game. Furtado got the Tide out of the inning, but the damage was done. The Bulldogs took a three-run lead into the final inning. MSU added one more run in the ninth inning as Jordan scored on a wild pitch.
Bama's offense couldn't get anything going on the new Bulldogs pitcher, Nate Dohm, who came in to pitch in the sixth inning. Dohm kept the Tide off the board in the four innings he pitched and was credited with the win.
"The Dohm kid's got a really great arm," Bohannon said. "You know, 95-96 and gets on ya... We got nine hits and had our share of hard contact and just wasn't quite enough."
Alabama moves to 23-10 (4-8 SEC) on the year. The Crimson Tide hosts Southern Miss Tuesday evening at 6 p.m. before the Auburn Tigers come to Tuscaloosa on Friday. Tuesday's game, along with the weekend series against Auburn, will air on the SEC Network+.