Strong Bullpen Effort Not Enough in Alabama’s 3-2 Loss to 18th-Ranked Texas A&M
Alabama baseball fell in the series opener with 18th-ranked Texas A&M by a score of 3-2 on Friday evening at Sewell-Thomas Stadium. Following the matchup with the Aggies, the Crimson Tide is now 28-22 overall and 6-19 in Southeastern Conference play.
“Obviously a really tough loss tonight,” said Alabama head coach Brad Bohannon. “We competed well, but you have a really, really thin margin for error when you face a team like Texas A&M and a starter like (John) Doxakis. You don’t get a chance to put up a crooked number very often, and when you get that chance you have to do it. We have to execute a little better tomorrow if we want to come out on top.”
The scoring was kept at a minimum on Friday evening. The Crimson Tide struck for one in the bottom of the first followed by A&M answering back with a two-spot in the second. Alabama knotted it up after the third but one unearned run in the Aggie fourth proved the difference, as the two teams went quiet the final five innings. The Tide had opportunities to tie things up, reaching a runner in four of the final five innings, but could not pull even.
Texas A&M starter John Doxakis (6-3) earned the win, allowing two runs (one earned) on five hits and four walks with seven strikeouts across his 7.0 frames. Aggie closer Kasey Kalich (11) picked up the save, getting the final out of the ninth to secure the game-one win. Alabama reliever Davis Vainer (1-1) suffered the loss despite a strong outing. The redshirt junior allowed one unearned run across his season-long 3.2 innings of work, but that run would prove the difference on Friday.
The Tide offense was led by the heart of the order with the 3-4-5 hitters combining for five hits. Three-hole hitter Morgan McCullough finished 3-for-4 to give the junior the team lead in hits. Cleanup man Tyler Gentry finished with one hit and a walk to extend his hitting streak to eight games. Rounding out the group was No. 5 hitter, freshman Drew Williamson, who contributed UA’s lone RBI as part of his 1-for-4 evening.
Alabama got out front in the bottom of the first with one run. A one-out error allowed T.J. Reeves to reach. A single from McCullough moved him to second and a passed ball put the freshman at third. After a walk to load the bases, an RBI-single from Williamson gave UA the 1-0 advantage. Texas A&M came right back with two runs in the top of the second to take their first lead of the night, 2-1.
Things were evened up in the bottom of the third when the Crimson Tide was able to plate one more. Reeves reached on a fielder’s choice before two consecutive singles loaded the bases for UA. After a strikeout, a wild pitch in the next at-bat moved everyone up 90 feet and crossed Reeves for his team-leading second run of the night, making it a 2-2 contest through three full innings.
Texas A&M retook the lead in the fourth with one unearned run thanks to a pair of Tide miscues. Alabama battled the rest of the evening, reaching a baserunner in four of the final frames but could not pull even. The Tide’s best shot came in the ninth when Joe Breaux led off with a single. The senior moved into scoring position on a sacrifice bunt, but a strikeout and foul out ended the game at 3-2 in favor of A&M.
The Crimson Tide and Aggies return to the diamond on Saturday afternoon for a 2 p.m. CT first pitch at The Joe. Alabama calls on redshirt junior Brock Love, a right-hander, in the start while A&M counters with sophomore lefty Asa Lacy. Fans can catch Saturday’s contest on SEC Network+.
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