Alabama Baseball Blasted From Tourney

Who said those Vanderbilt students are smart? The Commodores baseball team apparently thinks “Elimination Game” means “Extermination Game.” Even though they don’t seem to understand English, Vandy proved Friday that it knows baseball.

Alabama had been hoping for a long run in the Southeastern Conference Baseball Tournament and a spot in the NCAA Tournament. Instead, the Crimson Tide got a lone run, while giving up 16 to Vanderbilt. Thus, the disappointing Crimson Tide season comes to a depressing end. The 16-1 loss meant invocation of the slaughter rule, ending the misery after only seven innings of play in the Hoover Met.

The only good news for Alabama is that should be Bama’s last trip to Hoover for a baseball game for a while. After having to play its “home” games primarily in the Birmingham suburb while Sewell-Thomas Stadium in Tuscaloosa is undergoing renovation, the Tide can now “wait until next year” for a return to the SEC Tournament.

Vanderbilt, ranked seventh in the nation, used an eight-run fourth inning to break open the game and then cruised to the quarterfinal victory.

“It was unfortunate to finish out the tournament that way,” said Alabama Coach Mitch Gaspard. “Sometimes the game just doesn’t work in your favor, and today was one of those days.”

The second-seeded Commodores recorded an SEC Tournament record-tying eight doubles and posted 19 hits for 16 total runs in the seven-inning victory. Vanderbilt scored 14 of its 16 with an eight-spot in the fourth and three runs apiece in the fifth and sixth innings en route to advancing to the SEC semifinals.

Vandy scored one in the first using a leadoff single and a stolen base to get the runner in scoring position. A single with the runner moving on the pitch brought across the game’s first run. The Crimson Tide bounced right back, using a leadoff single and then a double from Georgie Salem to put two in scoring position. A deep flyout to right allowed Chandler Avant to score from third and tied things back up after one full.

The Commodores would plate their second run of the game in the second inning, using a leadoff walk paired with an error and a sac bunt to put two in scoring position. A 6-3 groundout allowed the runner to come across and gave Vanderbilt the lead once again, 2-1. After a hot start early, the two teams would go scoreless in the third before Vandy put together 14 of its 16 runs across in the fourth, fifth and sixth innings.

“Today’s game doesn’t take away from our team,” Gaspard added. “No one can understand what this group has been through this year. To make a run at the end, after all we’ve been through – that’s something I’m proud of. I’m very proud of the class that these guys showed throughout the course of the season.”

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