In its second week of the season, Alabama baseball seems to be in need of some quick healing, such as at least winning one game in the three-game series against Oral Roberts. The Crimson Tide’s comeback fell short Saturday as Bama suffered a 5-4 loss to the Oral Roberts Golden Eagles at Sewell-Thomas Stadium.
The win assured Oral Roberts of winning the three-game series and the second consecutive loss to the Golden Eagles dropped Bama to 3-3.
The series concludes Sunday with the first pitch scheduled for 1 p.m. CST at Sewell-Thomas. Alabama will send sophomore left-hander Dylan Duarte to the mound, while the Golden Eagles will counter with junior left-hander Miguel Ausua.
On Saturday, Alabama fell behind by 5-1, but fought back with a run in the sixth and two in the seventh, and had the tying run on base in the ninth before the chance at a miracle finish was ended.
“I’m really proud of how our guys came back today, and I was encouraged by the way they fought,” said Alabama Coach Greg Goff. “I really think that we were a hit or two away from tying that game up; I’m just proud of how our guys fought and competed. There are things that we definitely have to do better, and that’s my job and responsibility.”
Crimson Tide starter Jake Walters (1-1) suffered the loss, working 5 1/3 innings and allowing five earned runs on nine hits with two walks and five strikeouts. The junior right-hander tossed 92 pitches before handing the ball over to the relief staff, which stifled the ORU offense.
Alabama’s bullpen arms of Zac Rogers, Garret Rukes, Mike Oczypok and Davis Vainer allowed only two hits and no runs in the final 3 2/3 innings. The trio combined for five strikeouts. Rukes made his first career appearance and Oczypok his first of the season.
Oral Roberts took a 2-0 first inning lead as Walters surrendered a single and a two-run homer. Bama got one back in the second. Singles by Chadler Taylor, Cody Henry, and Taylor Poe cut it to 2-1.
The Golden Eagles got a double and two singles to account for two runs in the fifth. In the sixth, Oral Roberts made it 5-1 with a pair of singles and a walk that loaded the bases and a wild pitch that enabled what would prove to be the winning run to score.
Alabama fought back.
In the bottom of the sixth, Hunter Alexander reached on a one-out single and advanced to second on a wild pitch. One batter later, Henry singled him home.
In the seventh, Keith Holcombe led off with a hit-by-pitch. Logan Carey followed with a single in his first career at-bat to put men on first and second with no outs. Two outs later, Gene Wood delivered a double to score Holcombe and make it a two-run game. In the following at-bat, Cobie Vance drove a single up the middle to score Wood and make it 5-4.
Chandler Avant delivered a two-out single in the ninth to give Alabama life, but a popup ended the game.