Alabama baseball fell to seventh-ranked Vanderbilt, 7-5, as the Crimson Tide’s comeback effort fell just short on Friday. With the loss, the Tide moves to 29-26 overall and 11-18 in conference play as the Commodores take the series win.
Alabama and Vanderbilt will close out the regular season at 3:30 p.m. CDT Saturday on the SEC Network. Sophomore righty Geoffrey Bramblett will be called upon to clinch an SEC Tournament berth for the Crimson Tide, while junior right-hander Walker Buehler will throw for the Commodores.
“The first two innings got away from us, but after that I thought we competed and got ourselves back in it,” said Alabama Coach Mitch Gaspard. “Jay Shaw did a great job tonight. He threw more pitches than he has all year to keep us in the game. He did a heck of a job to hang in there for us and give us a chance to win.”
On his senior night, Jay Shaw put together a commendable relief outing to help Alabama stay close after starter Jake Walters was chased early. Shaw went 6 2/3 innings and allowed just one run on five hits while striking out six. The senior used a career-high 97 pitches to grind through the relief outing and keep the Commodore offense at bay.
Vanderbilt used a pair of three-run innings to build an early 6-1 lead after two full frames, but Alabama would fight back all night. The Tide put up two runs in the fourth before putting together one run apiece in the fifth and sixth innings to set the score at 6-5, but the climb would end there. The Commodores added one in the eighth to get the win.
The first inning saw Vanderbilt plate a trio of runs thanks to three consecutive extra-base hits, including two doubles and a triple. Alabama bounced back for one in the bottom half of the frame, starting with a two-out double from Mikey White. A Casey Hughston single put runners on the corners and then a wild pitch in the next at-bat brought White across for the Tide’s first run of the game.
The Commodores answered with three more in the second, starting off with two singles and then used a bases-clearing triple to bring two across and end Walters’ night. One out later, a single up the middle brought the third run across to set the score at 6-1 through one and a half.
Both teams would stay quiet until Alabama struck for two in the bottom of the fourth. Kyle Overstreet singled and then Cody Henry drew a walk to put two runners on and start the rally. A passed ball moved both in scoring position for White, with the shortstop delivering a single up the middle for the first run of the inning. Will Haynie would fly out deep in foul territory, but it would go far enough that Henry was able to tag from third, narrowing the gap at 6-3 through four full.
Georgie Salem reached base to lead off the fifth and then a walk from White moved Salem to second. A wild pitch would put both in scoring position, and then a one-out, 4-3 groundout from Overstreet brought the leadoff man across and moved Alabama one run closer at 6-4.
The Tide continued to chip away at the lead in the sixth, as Haynie led off the inning with a double. Riley Colburn would sacrifice himself to move Haynie to third, and then another flyout deep in foul territory allowed the catcher to tag up and score, putting Alabama within one. The Vanderbilt bullpen would hold off the comeback effort, and the Commodore offense added one more in the eighth on a solo home run for the 7-5 final.