Number One Vandy Takes Down Tide
Alabama next plays in the Southeastern Conference at the Hoover Met in suburban Birmingham on Tuesday. The Crimson Tide is the seventh seed in the tournament and will play 10th seed Auburn in the second game Tuesday morning. Vanderbilt is the number one seed in the tournament. The game will be televised on the Fox Sports Network.
"It's pretty evident that on the pitching end of things today, you can't issue nine free passes, hit two more, and give up a seven-spot and a five-spot and expect to win," Alabama Coach Mitch Gaspard said. "Considering all that, we did a great job to hang in there and continue to compete and give ourselves a chance."
Alabama out-hit the Commodores 14-9 in the game, but a total of 11 free passes issued by the Crimson Tide pitching staff were difficult for the offense to overcome. Leading the way offensively for the Tide was Brett Booth who was 4-for-4 with two RBI and two runs scored. Austen Smith was 3-for-5 with a double, one RBI and two runs scored, Chance Vincent was 2-for-4 with a triple and a career-high three RBI, and Mikey White was 1-for-4 with three runs scored.
The Tide chased Vanderbilt starting pitcher Tyler Beede in the fourth inning. Beede, who had won all 13 starts this season, went 3.2 innings, allowing six runs on eight hits with two walks and three strikeouts in his shortest outing of the season. Reliever Steven Rice (4-0) threw 2.1 scoreless innings to get the win and T.J. Pecoraro threw the final three innings to pick up his first save of the year. Pecoraro allowed four runs (three earned) on four hits with two walks and a strikeout.
Alabama used a total of six pitchers in the game, as they combined to allow 14 runs on nine hits, while walking nine and hitting two. Starting pitcher Taylor Guilbeau (4-2) took the loss after throwing one-plus innings. After retiring the first three hitters of the game, Guilbeau walked the first four batters of the second inning. All four batters Guilbeau walked in the second inning scored, as the Commodores scored seven times in the second inning.
"We just couldn't find the answer today in the bullpen," Gaspard said. "Guilbeau had a great first inning and looked like he was on track, but just couldn't find the strike zone in the second. Both sides had command issues and the arms got themselves in trouble and guys got pretty offensive. Fourteen runs on nine hits, that means you're giving up a lot of freebees. You can't do that with the no. 1 team in the country and have a chance to win."
Tucker Hawley was the most effective pitcher for the Tide on Saturday, throwing 3 2/3 innings, allowing no runs on two hits with a walk and two strikeouts. Freshman walk-on Mike Oczypok allowed two runs on three hits with two walks and two strikeouts in 2 2/3 innings out of the bullpen.
Alabama took a 1-0 lead when Booth doubled down the right field line with two outs in the second inning to score Smith. Smith singled with two outs the stole second before the Booth double.
Vanderbilt answered in the bottom of the second with seven runs. The Dores were helped out by five walks in the inning, as the first four hitters of the inning were walked by Guilbeau. A double by Vince Conde off reliever Jon Keller plated the second and third runs of the inning, then a sacrifice fly by John Norwood make the score 4-1. Tony Kemp singled to plate Conde then after a walk to Kyle Smith, Mike Yastrzemski singled to drive in Kemp. A sac fly by Harrell plated the seventh run of the inning.
Alabama batted around in the fourth inning and scored five times to cut the Commodores lead to 7-6. Off Beede, the Tide got RBI singles by Smith and Booth to cut the deficit to 7-3. Smith scored on a wild pitch then Booth scored on a ground out by Roberts to make the score 7-5. The final run of the inning came on a RBI single by Georgie Salem to score Vincent from second.
After Hawley threw 3.2 scoreless innings to keep the game close, the Tide went to the bullpen for Keaton Haack to start the sixth. After loading the bases to start the inning, Vanderbilt scored five times in the inning to take a 12-6 lead. After Kyle Smith popped out to second, Yastrzemski and Harrell were hit by pitches to stretch the Dores' lead to 9-6. Mike Oczypok took over for Haack, only to see Conrad Gregor clear the bases with a double to left center to cap the scoring in the inning.
Bama loaded the bases with two outs in the top of the seventh off Pecoraro. Vincent tripled to right field to drive in White, Booth and Miller to cut the deficit to 12-9. Vandy answered once again, this time scoring a pair of runs on a Zander Wiel two-out, two-run double in the eighth inning, making the score 14-9 Dores. Alabama capped the scoring when Andrew Miller's ninth inning single drove in White, making the score 14-10.
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