Baseball players, coaches, and fans are historically all optimists when a baseball season begins. It would be understandable after the second weekend of the season that Alabama’s baseball balloon of optimism has been popped.
A ninth-inning rally fell a few feet short for the Crimson Tide Sunday and Oral Roberts took a 5-2 victory and completed the three-game sweep of Bama at Sewell-Thomas Stadium. Alabama fell to 3-4 with the loss.
“We can’t let this weekend define our season,” said Alabama Coach Greg Goff. “We got outplayed from a pitching, defensive, and timely hitting standpoint. Hopefully, this motivates our guys and helps them understand that getting swept is not acceptable. We’ve got to come out tomorrow at practice and get better.”
Facing a 5-1 deficit entering the ninth, Alabama used an ORU fielding and throwing error to put a runner in scoring position to start the frame. In a pinch-hit role, Keith Holcombe sent a sharp grounder to second that the fielder bobbled before throwing the ball into the visiting dugout, sending Holcombe to second. In the next at-bat, a single to left by Gene Wood placed runners on the corners for Chandler Avant, who sent a sacrifice fly to left, scoring Holcombe and making a 5-2 game. Cobie Vance extended the Alabama ninth with a one-out single to put runners at first and second, but Cody Henry’s fly ball came just short of a game-tying home run for the contest’s final out.
Vance led the Crimson Tide in hitting, finishing 3-for-4 with one walk, and extended his hitting streak to seven games. Vance has now delivered a hit in every game and leads Alabama with 15 hits. Chandler Taylor contributed a 1-for-3 effort with one RBI, a walk, and a run scored, while also contributing his team-leading fourth home run of the season.
Alabama kicked off the day’s scoring in the bottom of the fourth using a solo shot from Taylor to take a 1-0 lead. Oral Roberts answered back an inning later, plating one to even the score. A single led off the stanza before a sacrifice bunt placed a runner in scoring position. One batter later, an ORU single crossed the Golden Eagles’ first run of the day and tied the score at 1-1.
Oral Roberts took the lead with a three-run sixth inning. A leadoff walk followed by a sacrifice bunt put a runner in scoring position, before a single plated one to give the Golden Eagles a 2-1 lead. A double in the next at-bat accounted for another run, and a throwing error on the play allowed the batter to advance to third. A sacrifice fly scored a run as ORU took at 4-1 lead.
In the ninth, as the Golden Eagles added one more run on two hit batsmen and a single.