Bama Drops Conference Opener Against No. 6 Florida
In its opening game of SEC play for the 2022 season, the Crimson Tide (12-7) fell to No. 6 Florida (14-4) by a final score of 6-4 on Friday.
"I'm really proud of the fight we showed late," said Alabama coach Brad Bohannon.
"When you play a team like Florida, you just can't give up those big crooked numbers especially early. I thought Florida did a good job, they threw the first punch tonight."
Junior right-hander Garrett McMillan came into the appearance 2-0 on the season with a 1.80 ERA through 25.0 innings on the year, but struggled in the fourth inning and picked up his first loss of the season after 5.0 IP with seven strikeouts and five earned runs. Even though the offense didn't necessarily help until after he was pulled, McMillan just didn't look as sharp he had in previous starts in 2022.
Senior left-hander Brock Guffey and freshman right-hander Luke Holman combined for the final four innings and didn't allow a single earned run, even after facing multiple situations with runners on base. Guffy's final line for the evening includes 3.0 innings of work with two strikeouts through 16 batters and Holman finished with 1.0 IP after forcing three fly ball outs.
Alabama's first run of the game didn't come until the eighth inning on Friday, but as soon as the switch was flipped it looked like a different lineup. The spark on Friday was a solo home run to center field from eighth-hitting sophomore CF Andrew Pinckney, his second longball on the year. He was the only player for Alabama to record more than one hit and he managed to get on base in three of his for plate appearances.
An eventful final frame gave the Bama faithful in attendance some hope, but the offensive showing just came too late as the Tide was able to cut the Florida lead in half with one inning of work in the 9th.
Junior third baseman Zane Denton led off the late charge with a single and transfer outfielder Tommy Seidl reached base after being hit by a pitch in the next at-bat. Freshman infielder Will Hodo loaded the bases with a single setting up junior outfielder Owen Diodati's RBI, eventually scoring two on a Florida error. Pinckney was hit in the next at-bat, loading the bases for a second time, and a 2B Bryce Eblin RBI from a fielder's choice brought the Florida lead to just two. The game ended on a ground-out double-play from junior shortstop Jim Jarvis who went 1-for-5 at the plate on Friday.
Florida's path to success on Friday began with an excellent showing from MLB Top-100 prospect sophomore LHP Hunter Barco. The 6-foot-4 left-hander seemed almost unshakable in his appearance and finished his day after 8.0 innings pitched and 10 strikeouts, allowing four hits and a single run earned.
The Gator offense was tough to slow down for Alabama as the team finished the game with 11 hits from just two home runs and only securing two extra-base hits. Junior catcher BT Riopelle finished the day 3-for-5 with a home run and two singles. Junior CF Jud Fabian collected the other Florida home run, a two-run shot in the second inning, scoring his little brother freshman 3B Deric Fabian.
Game 2 against Florida will start at 6 p.m. CST on Saturday evening and can be found on SEC Network+.