Alabama’s baseball team went to Hattiesburg, Miss., Tuesday, en route to a critical start to Southeastern Conference play in Baton Rouge this weekend. It was not a good plan.
Alabama gave up a season-high 15 hits and a season-high tying 9 runs and the Crimson Tide fell to Southern Miss, 9-2.
It is not unusual for SEC teams to have problems with mid-week games, but after having lost two of three to Houston last weekend, Bama could have used a little boonon-conference st against the Golden Eagles. It wasn’t to happen.
The Crimson Tide will now travel to Baton Rouge to begin SEC play against the powerful LSU Tigers. The three-game weekend series begins at 7 p.m. CDT Friday. The teams will meet for a 6:30 p.m. game on Saturday before closing out the series with a 1 p.m. first pitch in Sunday’s finale.
“Southern Miss has a really good club and they played really well tonight,” said Alabama Coach Mitch Gaspard. “They outplayed us, particularly from the middle of the game on. Their offense was really good tonight, and we didn’t have an answer for them.”
Alabama starter Mike Oczypok (2-1) suffered his first loss of the season after allowing six runs (five earned) on eight hits and one walk. The trio of Ray Castillo, Zac Rogers, and Tyler Adams followed and allowed a combined three runs on seven hits with one strikeout.
Southern Miss took a 2-0 lead in the fourth with a walk followed by three consecutive singles and a sacrifice fly.
Alabama narrowed the gap to 2-1 in the fifth. With one out, Chandler Avant doubled and Daniel Cucjen singled to put runners on the corners. Keith Holcombe’s high chopper to second got the force at second, but Holcombe beat the throw on the double play attempt, allowing Avant to score.
The Golden Eagles responded with a run in the bottom of the fifth, making it 3-1.
The sixth saw Southern Miss add three runs on four hits, chasing Oczypok, and giving the Golden Eagles a 6-1 lead.
The Tide got its second and final run of the game in the seventh. A walk and two singles loaded the bases and Avant lifted a sacrifice fly to right field.
Southern Miss closed out the scoring with three more runs in the bottom of the seventh.
Avant led Alabama at the plate with a 2-3 game that included a double, an RBI, and a run scored. Will Haynie also had a pair of hits.