Tide Baseball Has Back To Wall Monday

Going into Sunday of the Tallahassee Regional of the NCAA College Baseball Tournament, Alabama had a goal of making it to the championship game. That happened, but it isn't quite the storybook the Crimson Tide had hoped for. Not yet, at least. And it doesn't look promising.

True, Alabama won its first game of the day in convincing fashion, setting up a meeting with Florida State for the regional championship. But an unfunny thing happened on the way to the title. Home-standing FSU took an 8-0 lead before Bama got on the board with a Taylor Dugas home run in the sixth inning. Moments later, stormy weather caused a delay that eventually resulted in the game being suspended until Monday.

Number three seed Alabama and number one seed FSU will resume play at 11 a.m. CDT Monday. If Alabama can comeback from that 8-1 deficit, Bama will play in the Super Regional, a step away from the College World Series.

Alabama stayed alive in the tournament with an earlier win Sunday. The Crimson Tide scored six runs in the bottom of the seventh inning en route to a season-high 12 runs to post a 12-5 victory over the Central Florida Knights in the elimination game at Dick Howser Stadium on Sunday afternoon.

Winning pitcher Jonathan Smart (5-3) gave the Crimson Tide another quality start as he went 8.0 innings, allowing four runs (two earned) on 11 hits with one strikeout.

Four UA players had at least two hits, as Brock Bennett, Jared Reaves and Austen Smith had three hits each and Taylor Dugas finished with two. Bennett scored twice, Reaves had three RBI and three runs scored, and Smith had two RBI and a run scored. Dugas led off the game for Alabama with his team-leading seventh home run and finished the day 2-for4 with three RBI and he was hit by a pitch.

Alabama collected 15 hits in the game, reaching double figures in hits for the 31st time this season. Alabama also tied a season-high with 12 runs, matching the 12-run effort against Eastern Illinois on March 12.

UCF starting pitcher, Ben Lively, did not record an out, allowing four runs (two earned) in the first inning. Relief pitcher Nick Cicio took the loss to drop to 4-3 on the year. Cicio threw 5.0 innings, allowing one run on five hits with six strikeouts.

With the win, Alabama advanced to its 15th NCAA Regional Championship game in school history and second against Florida State (1991) in Tallahassee. The Crimson Tide advanced to the Atlanta Regional Championship game last year, and defeated Georgia Tech twice to advance to the Super Regionals.

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