“I thought it was a well-played game on both sides,” said Alabama Coach Mitch Gaspard. “Their pitching did a really nice job, as we knew they would coming in to this game. By the looks of it, the game came down to a three-run homer. We missed a couple opportunities there with those little things that could win us the game.”
Alabama tallied the first run of the evening in the top of the fourth, starting with a Casey Hughston double off the center field wall just inches short of a home run. Kyle Overstreet grounded to the shortstop with Hughston running to third. Hughston was able to slide in safely as the Cougars tried for the lead man, giving Bama runners at first and third. Chance Vincent followed with a single to bring home Hughston, but the Tide left a couple on and managed only a 1-0 lead.
In the bottom of the sixth, Houston seized the lead on a three-run home run from Chris Iriart, his third of the season. With one out, the Cougars doubled and then followed the extra-base hit with a walk before Iriart’s home run. The three runs were the first the Crimson Tide surrendered this season, ending a streak of 32 1/3 innings of scoreless work by the pitching staff to start the year.
The Crimson Tide received another quality start from senior Taylor Guilbeau, who tossed six innings, allowing three runs on four hits while walking two and striking out a career-high tying seven batters. Alabama’s bullpen provided solid work, helping the Tide limit the Cougars in key situations, tossing a combined two innings and striking out two.
“The guys are playing hard, and we’ll clean up some areas, but overall I think is why we’re here playing one of the top teams in the country,” Gaspard added. “I thought we matched up really well. I’m looking forward to getting back out tomorrow and playing them again, because we have better than what we put out there tonight.”
Alabama will pitch right-hander Will Carter in Saturday's game.