Baseball Suffers Opening Day Loss

There was nothing very good about Alabama's baseball season-opener at Sewell-Thomas Stadium Friday night. It was bad enough that there was a rain delay of an hour and 41 minutes. Worse, though, was that the Crimson Tide fell to the St. Louis Billikens, 2-1.

Alabama and St. Louis continue the series today at 2 p.m. CST before winding up the first weekend of college baseball at 1 p.m. Sunday.

Alabama had a 1-0 lead when the rains came after the third inning. Following the interruption, the Billikens got two triples and two runs off senior reliever Tucker Hawley and Bama couldn't answer.

The Tide left nine runners on base.

"I thought [Spencer] Turnbull came out and was really sharp in the first three innings prior to the rain delay," Alabama Coach Mitch Gaspard said. "After the rain delay, I thought their kid did a really good job. [Nick] Bates came in and pitched to both sides of the plate and we never got in any kind of rhythm offensively after that."

Alabama's lone run came in the bottom of the third when Ben Moore drove in Georgie Salem with an RBI double. Salem singled to lead off the inning before stealing second to get into scoring position. After the final out of the third inning, the game was halted due to rain, before resuming more than 90 minutes later.

After the rain delay, the Tide got three hits and a pair of walks over the final six innings. The Crimson Tide was outhit by the Billikens, 8-7. SLU stranded five runners.

Following the delay, St. Louis scored a run in both the fourth and fifth innings. The Billikens got a single from Mike Vigliarolo followed by a Danny Murphy RBI triple in the fourth to tie the score. SLU added the eventual game-winning run in the fifth via a Danny Brennan leadoff triple and Jake Henson RBI groundout.

"A lot of credit to Saint Louis, as we said they're a good team, there's a reason they won 41 games last year," Gaspard said. "They returned the whole team and they certainly played very well tonight, and with that we obviously have to regroup and correct some of the mistakes we made today."

Nick Bates (1-0) earned the win after allowing three hits and two walks in 4.2 scoreless innings after the rain delay. Matt Eckelman pitched the final 1.1 innings for SLU to earn the save. Alabama's Tucker Hawley (0-1) was charged with the loss after allowing a run in each of his two innings pitched.

Alabama starting pitcher Spencer Turnbull blanked the Billikens in three innings, allowing one hit with four strikeouts before the rain delay. Freshman righty Geoffrey Bramblett tossed three scoreless innings in his Alabama debut, surrendering three hits with three strikeouts and junior south paw Taylor Guilbeau added a scoreless ninth inning.

Alabama had a chance to tie the score in the eighth inning, but Mikey White was thrown out at the plate by SLU left fielder Michael Bozarth, on a Kyle Overstreet single with one out. With runners on the corners and two out, Saint Louis turned to Eckelman who struck out Smith to end the inning, maintaining the one-run advantage.

The Tide got a pair of hits and a stolen base from Salem, two hits from Austen Smith and an RBI double from Moore.

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