Dugas Only Bright Spot For Alabama

MOBILE – The Alabama baseball team completed the South Alabama Classic with a 12-4 loss to Central Florida on Sunday afternoon at Stanky Field. The Crimson Tide dropped all three games in the tournament and is now 4-3 on the season, while Central Florida improved to 6-1 overall.

The bright spot for Alabama on Sunday was the continued hot hitting of Taylor Dugas, who was 3-for-4 with a run scored. In the three games of the tournament, Dugas was 7-for-14 with three doubles, a triple and four runs scored, and improved his average for the season to .360.

Alabama starting pitcher Tucker Hawley (1-1) took the loss and left the game in the fourth inning after allowing six earned runs on seven hits (six doubles) in 3.0 innings of action. UCF starting pitcher Ben Lively (1-0) got the win as he threw 5.0 innings, allowing one unearned run on three hits with two strikeouts.

Central Florida scored its 12 runs on 18 hits, which included nine doubles and three home runs. Leading the Knights was shortstop Darnell Sweeney who was 4-for-5 with three doubles, two runs scored and two RBI. Chris Taladay was 3-for-5 with two home runs, a double and five RBI.

Alabama trailed from the outset, as Central Florida scored two first inning runs on three doubles just four batters into the game. The Tide answered with a run in the bottom of the inning, as Dugas scored on an infield groundout by Jared Reaves.

Central Florida extended its lead to 4-1 in the third inning when a sacrifice fly to deep center field allowed Ronnie Richardson to tag-up from third and Sweeney to score from second base. The Knights' lead reached 6-1 in the fourth inning on an RBI double by Chris Taladay and a sacrifice fly to right by Travis Shreve.

Freshman right-hander Jay Shaw took over for Hawley and allowed a sac fly on the first batter he faced. A home run by UCF catcher Beau Taylor increased the Knights' lead to 7-1. Shaw allowed one earned run on three hits with two strikeouts in 3.0 innings of relief.

In the bottom half of the seventh inning, the Tide loaded the bases with no out, but a 4-6-3 double play off the bat of Jeremiah Tullidge, which scored Ladson Montgomery, ended the thoughts of a big inning for Alabama. Reaves followed with an RBI single to right field to cut the UCF lead to 7-3, and finished the day going 1-for-4 with two RBI.

After the Tide scored twice in the seventh, UCF answered with a two-run home run by Taladay in the top of the eighth off Brett Whitaker, making the score 9-3. An RBI double by Sweeney extended the UCF advantage to 10-3. After an Austen Smith solo home run in the eighth for Alabama, Taladay homered again in the top of the ninth, with a runner on, to make the score 12-4.

Alabama returns to action on Wednesday when the Crimson Tide hosts the Southern Mississippi Golden Eagles at 6:05 p.m. from Sewell-Thomas Stadium. Probable starting pitchers for the mid-week game have not been announced by either team.

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