LOUISVILLE, Ky. - The Alabama baseball team suffered a heartbreaking 4-3 loss in 14 innings to No. 5…
Close But No Cigar For Tide Baseball
"First of all, I like the way we competed," Alabama Coach Mitch Gaspard said. "We got off to a quick start and they bounced back and kind of hit us in the mouth, then we responded late to tie the game. Some guys came into the game in critical situations and performed very well, and gave us an opportunity to win the game."
In the bottom of the 10th inning, Louisville got a walk and a bunt single to put runners on first and second with no outs. After a sacrifice bunt moved the runners up 90 feet, the Tide intentionally walked Coco Johnson to load the bases. Taylor Wolfe entered the game and on a 2-1 pitch, Young delivered the game-winning RBI single to right center field to score Sutton Whiting from third base, giving the Cardinals their second walk-off victory of the weekend.
Louisville reliever Kyle McGrath (2-0) got the win after throwing a scoreless 10th inning against the Tide. Mitch Greer (1-1), who got the Tide out of a jam in the ninth inning, was the hard-luck losing pitcher, after the walk to open the Louisville 10th was charged to him. Greer threw 0.2 innings before leaving the game with an injury after throwing two balls to the leadoff hitter in the 10th.
Both Ben Moore and Brett Booth homered in the game for Alabama. Moore was 3-for-3 with a walk, three RBI and two runs scored. Booth was 1-for-4 with two RBI and scored twice. Moore, Booth and Kenny Roberts, who was 1-for-4 with a run scored, had all five of the Tide's hits on Sunday.
Louisville collected 13 hits in the game, as six different players had two hits each. Young was 2-for-4 with two RBI and Whiting was 2-for-4 with a double and a triple, a walk, an RBI and two runs scored.
"At the end of the day, as tough as it is to lose three games here, with a youthful team and the situations they have been in leading into SEC play, we've gotten better," Gaspard said. "Now, we have to take the things we're not doing well, improve our game and start the climb to become a good baseball team."
Alabama jumped out to an early lead after scoring three times in the top of the second. Austen Smith reached on an error by the Louisville shortstop to open the inning then Booth hammered his second home run of the season over the left field wall to stake the Tide to a 2-0 lead. Ben Moore followed with a single, Kyle Overstreet was hit by a pitch and then Andrew Miller moved the runners over with a sacrifice bunt. With runners on second and third and one out, Ryan Blanchard had a sacrifice fly to left field to allow Moore to score, making it 3-0 in favor of the Tide.
Louisville got a run back in the third inning when an Adam Engel groundout plated Whiting, who tripled to center field with one out. Alabama got the run back in the top of the fourth when Moore led off the inning with a deep shot to left field for the second time this season, off Louisville starting pitcher Jared Ruxer to open the inning.
Louisville got back-to-back singles to open the bottom of the fourth, and had runners on second and third after a groundout to first. After a strikeout, Cardinals first baseman Zak Wasserman delivered a two-out single to right field to drive in two, making the score 4-3. Whiting then doubled down the left field line to score Wasserman from first, tying the score at 4-4.
The Cardinals took a 5-4 lead in the fifth off UA starting pitcher Spencer Turnbull, who did not factor into the decision. After singles to open the inning put runners on the corners, Young delivered a sacrifice fly to left field to plate Nick Ratajczak for the go ahead run. Turnbull walked the next hitter to put runners on first and second to end his day. Justin Kamplain entered for Turnbull and after Booth threw out a base runner trying to steal third, pinch hitter Alex Chittenden grounded out back to Kamplain to end the inning with just the one run.
Louisville added two runs in the bottom of the seventh when Engel hit a solo home run to open the inning and a one-out solo shot by Johnson off Kamplain, made the score 7-4.
Alabama answered with three runs in the top of the eighth inning to even the score at 7-7. With the bases loaded Moore doubled down the right field line to drive in Mikey White and Kenny Roberts. With runners on second and third, Oversteet delivered a sac fly to right field to score Booth and tie the game at 7-7.
Louisville got the first two runners aboard in the eighth to chase Ray Castillo from the game. After Taylor Guilbeau entered, Booth threw behind Gibson at second base to record the first out of the inning. Then, Guilbeau struck out Whiting, and after intentionally walking Engel, Guilbeau got Ratajczak to ground out the end the inning without allowing a run.
After Alabama went down in order in the ninth against Nick Burdi, the Cardinals had runners on the corners with one out off Guilbeau. Mitch Greer was called on to get the Tide out of the jam. Greer struck out Chittenden and then after a walk loaded the bases, Anthony Kidston flied out to right field, sending the game to extra innings for the second time this weekend.
Alabama returns home to host the Memphis Tigers for a two-game, midweek set on Tuesday and Wednesday nights, with first pitch set for 6:05 p.m. CT, from Sewell-Thomas Stadium. Pitching matchups for the two midweek games will be announced later.