With one out in the bottom of the ninth, Alabama's Mikey White singled back through the middle and Casey Hughston followed up with a double it the next at-bat. An errant throw from the Louisiana-Lafayette right fielder rolled into no-man’s land and gave White an opening to try to score the tying run, but the ULL third baseman retrieved the ball and was able to cut down White at the plate. Hughston moved to third on the throw, but an infield groundout ended the contest with ULL hanging on for the 6-5 win.
“We want to play aggressively, and that is exactly what Mikey did,” said Alabama Coach Mitch Gaspard. “Their third baseman had to make a play, and he was able to get the ball to the catcher in time. We preach that aggressive style of play, but Louisiana-Lafayette did a good job on the defensive end.”
The two teams were near-even all game, with both squads finishing with 11 hits on the day, but Louisiana-Lafayette was able to claim the extra run for the victory.
The Ragin’ Cajuns struck first in this afternoon’s contest, scoring one in the second and two in the fourth to maintain a 3-0 lead heading into the bottom of the fifth inning. Alabama would not sit by idly, and recorded a five-run bottom of the fifth to take the momentum and the lead away from ULL. The inning began with back-to-back hits, starting with a double by Wilhite that just nearly missed leaving the yard. Ryan Blanchard followed Wilhite with a single to put runners at first and third with no outs.
A sacrifice fly to center by Chance Vincent would start the scoring for Alabama, but it would not end after just one tally. Chandler Avant singled to center to advance Blanchard to second with only one out, and then a walk from Georgie Salem loaded the bases for UA.
With bases juiced, Mikey White delivered a double down the line past a diving third baseman to clear the bases and tie the score up at 4-4. Hughston matched him with a double of his own, and plated White to give Alabama the 5-3 advantage after five innings of play.
In the top of the seventh, ULL was able to collect four hits and plate three runs to go ahead 6-5, the eventual final.
“It was a pretty solid baseball game,” said Gaspard. “I thought both teams had a good approach today. Louisiana-Lafayette really took the fight to us, but I thought we responded well and kept battling. We just came up a little short this afternoon.”
Alabama and Louisiana-Lafayette will face off tomorrow in a game to decide the series. First pitch of the rubber match is scheduled for 1 p.m. CST with Geoffrey Bramblett getting the start for the Crimson Tide and ULL countering with freshman left-hander Gunner Leger.