Alabama took a one-run lead over Jacksonville State into the seventh inning at Sewell-Thomas Stadium Tuesday, but by the time the Gamecocks had finished the top of the inning, the only reason for a seventh-inning stretch was in preparation to head for the exits. Jacksonville State continued the Crimson Tide’s baseball misery this season with a four-run seventh inning that gave the Gamecocks an 11-8 win.
Alabama is now 15-26 this year, including 0-2 to Jax State.
Moreover, next up for Alabama is a three-game series with 15th-ranked LSU from Thursday through Saturday at Sewell-Thomas Stadium. The first game of the Southeastern Conference series is at 6:30 p.m. CDT Thursday with television coverage by ESPN2. The Friday game is at 6 p.m., and the series finale at 2 p.m. Saturday.
“Our guys competed all night,” said Alabama Coach Greg Goff. “Offensively, we never gave in, coming back twice. I don’t respect walks and errors, and you can’t do that against a good team like Jacksonville State or you’re going to let them back in the game like we did tonight.”
A four-run seventh was the deciding factor, as the two teams traded runs throughout the evening. Both clubs plated a pair in the first. Jacksonville State scored single runs in the third and fourth, before Alabama matched them with a two-run bottom of the fourth. In the fifth, both teams scored three runs to make it 7-7. Alabama took an 8-7 lead in the sixth, before the Gamecocks put it away with five singles scoring four runs in the seventh to end the scoring.
Alabama’s offense collected 13 hits with eight of the nine starters recording at least one. The output was paced by Cody Henry, who finished 3-for-4 with a home run, a team-high four RBI, and a pair of runs scored. Also homering was Chandler Taylor, who finished 1-for-4 with two RBI, a walk, and one run. Taylor’s home run extended his hitting streak to 11 games. Kyle Kaufman finished 2-for-2 with a pair of walks, a hit-by-pitch, one RBI and two runs scored, reaching base in all five plate appearances.,
Jacksonville State started the game with a leadoff double followed by a one-out home run by A.J. Reynolds to left to make it 2-0 after a half inning. Alabama evened it up in the bottom half of the first. A pair of singles to start the game from Chandler Avant and Kaufman put two aboard. Both runners moved into scoring position on a sacrifice bunt before Henry sent a single to center to make it a 2-1 game. One out later, Henry took off for second, got caught in a rundown, and an errant throw from the catcher allowed Kaufman to score, making it 2-2.
The Gamecocks added one in the third and fourth innings to make it a two-run advantage.
Alabama evened it back up in the fourth. A leadoff single from Henry followed by a two-run home run from Taylor knotted it up at 4-4. The homer was Taylor’s team-leading 11th of the season.
Both teams matched one another with a three-run fifth. Jacksonville State used a pair of walks to put two on before an errant throw on a grounder to relief pitcher Garrett Suchey went into center field, scoring the inning’s first run and putting Gamecocks at the corners. A wild pitch in the next at-bat moved everyone up 90 feet, scoring the man from third. The sequence ended with a single to center, bringing the man home from second to make it a three-run JSU lead.
Suchey, the third of five Tide pitchers, would take the loss to fall to 2-6.
The Crimson Tide answered with a three-spot in the home half of the fifth. Walker McCleney began things for the Tide, singling through the right side. One out later, Kaufman was hit by a pitch to put two on before a fielder’s choice from Cobie Vance cut down McCleney but left two still on base. With a pair in the waiting, Henry sent one over the fence in left-center to cross three and make things square at 7-7 heading to the sixth.
Alabama took its first lead of the night with a single run in the sixth. The Tide reached a pair of baserunners with a one-out single from Alex Webb and then a hit-by-pitch for McCleney with two down. One more walk, this one to Avant, loaded the bases before a free pass for Kaufman pushed a run across to set the score in favor of UA, 8-7.
In the top of the seventh, Jacksonville State added four runs to regain the lead and then widen the advantage to three at 11-8. The Gamecocks used five singles to score four runs, with all four runs coming with two down in the inning. Alabama reached baserunners in each of the last three innings, but was unable to score.