Home Runs Down Alabama Baseball in 13-5 Loss to Fifth-Ranked Vanderbilt
Four home runs proved the difference on Saturday night as Alabama baseball fell, 13-5, to fifth-ranked Vanderbilt at Sewell-Thomas Stadium. The Crimson Tide is now 24-16 on the season, 4-13 in Southeastern Conference play.
Vanderbilt finished with 13 runs, 11 of which came on four home runs. Things were close through six innings, with the Commodores holding a 6-4 lead up to that point, but three in the seventh and four in the ninth put the game out of reach to help Vandy claim the series.
The win went to Vanderbilt starter Kumar Rocker (4-4) who tossed 5.0 innings and allowed two runs on one hit and four walks with two punchouts. Zach King (2) picked up his second save of the year, working the final 4.0 frames for the ‘Dores. Alabama starter Brock Love (4-3) suffered the loss.
Vanderbilt used a pair of home runs across the second and third innings to build a 5-0 lead. The Commodores recorded a two-run homer in the second followed by a three-run shot an inning later. Vandy added one more run in the fourth for a 6-0 advantage before the Tide began its scoring.
Alabama got its first run in the bottom of the fourth. A leadoff walk from Morgan McCullough eventually led to a run, with the junior scoring on an RBI-single two outs later from fellow junior Brett Auerbach. The Tide added one more tally in the fifth. This time the leadoff walk came from Kolby Robinson. Another free pass moved the junior shortstop to second and a flyout put him at third before a sacrifice fly from freshman T.J. Reeves scored Robinson, making it a 6-2 game through five.
The Crimson Tide continued to chip away at the Vandy lead, putting up two more in the bottom of the sixth. Sophomore Tyler Gentry started the frame with a single and was followed by another Auerbach single. The duo moved into scoring position on a passed ball before senior Joe Breaux came through in the next at-bat, sending a slow roller to first that stayed inside the line to allow Gentry to score and put Tide runners on the corners. A wild pitch then brought Auerbach in, narrowing the gap to 6-4.
Vanderbilt put things out of reach in the seventh. An RBI-single tallied the first run for the ‘Dores before a two-run home run set things at 9-4. A four-run ninth for Vandy on the power of two, two-run home runs pushed things to 13-4. Alabama was able to rally for one in the ninth on a Reeves sac fly, but would get no closer.
Alabama and Vanderbilt wrap up the series on Sunday afternoon with a 1 p.m. CT first pitch at The Joe. The Crimson Tide will look to graduate right-hander Jeremy Randolph in the start while the Commodores counter with senior Patrick Raby, also a righty. Fans can catch the holiday matchup on SEC Network+.
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