Alabama baseball had its chances, but came up short in its comeback effort on Friday, falling 8-4 to Arkansas at the Hoover Met. The Crimson Tide has now fallen to even .500 on the season at 23-23. Bama, which desperately wants to make the SEC Tournament field (which is played in its interim home park), has fallen to 8-15 in conference play.
Alabama’s chance to salvage one win in the series is today at noon. ESPN2 will televise the game. Alabama will send sophomore right-hander Geoffrey Bramblett to the mound while Arkansas counters with freshman righty Keaton McKinney.
In Friday’s loss, seven of the nine Alabama starters hit safely with five of them getting two hits each. The Alabama offense outhit Arkansas, 12-7.
The outcome, though, is determined by runs, not hits, and the Razorbacks got theirs at key times. A five-run fifth inning settled the issue.
Alabama squandered many of its hits by leaving 12 men on base. Arkansas stranded only five.
The Crimson Tide struck first, putting up a pair of runs in the bottom of the third. Will Haynie led the inning off with a walk. He was picked off, caught in a rundown, but made it safely to second for a stolen base. He was sacrificed to third. Chandler Avant followed with a double, but Haynie had to hold up and did not advance. Georgie Salem’s groundout to Haynie home for a 1-0 lead. Back-to-back bases on balls, the second with the bases loaded, made it 2-0, but Bama left the bases full.
Crimson Tide starter Jake Walters got off to a hot start, retiring the first nine batters faced, but the freshman ran into trouble in the fourth. Arkansas put up one run in the fourth inning and then added five in the fifth. The five-run frame saw the Razorbacks record three hits and use one error to bring across the tying and then go-ahead runs.
In the bottom of the fifth, a leadoff single and a passed ball put Salem in scoring position for Hughston. The right fielder singled Salem home to pull Bama to within 6-3.
The Tide used two singles around a walk to load the bases in the eighth. Avant singled one run home, but Alabama again left the bases loaded.
Arkansas added two more runs in the top of the ninth to settle the issue. White led off the bottom of the ninth with a single and Cody Henry drew a two-out walk, but the Tide stranded them.