It looked for a while as though Alabama’s disappointing baseball season might end on a high note as the Crimson Tide took a lead into the eighth inning at Vanderbilt Saturday. Bama didn’t get the win – somehow letting the victory slip away with a balk was appropriate for this year’s team – but at least the Tide didn’t get a loss, either.
With rain beginning following the eighth inning and the prediction for bad weather to continue, the game was called with the teams tied at 3-3.
Thus, Alabama under first-year Coach Greg Goff, finished the season with a record of 19-34-1, including a 5-24-1 mark in Southeastern Conference play. Other than an inexplicable three-game sweep of Auburn in Auburn, the Tide lost every SEC series and was swept in seven of those series.
Bama did not qualify for the SEC Tournament, and so the season is over.
The Crimson Tide held a 2-0 advantage after two innings of play at Hawkins Field in Nashville before Vanderbilt scored its first run in the sixth. Both teams scored one apiece in the seventh with Vandy tying things up on an Alabama balk in the bottom of the eighth. Following the final out of that eighth, the umpires cleared the field with the threat of a severe thunderstorm. The game was officially delayed at 3:56 p.m. CT before it was eventually decided to call it a tie.
Garrett Suchey was dominant for the Crimson Tide, making his first career start and lasting a season-long 105 pitches. The junior allowed two runs on six hits and a pair of walks while striking out a season-high seven batters. Suchey gave up an RBI-triple and then allowed a solo homer to account for his only two runs of the day.
The Tide’s trio of Chandler Taylor, Cody Henry, and Sam Finnerty each finished 1-for-3 with a run scored, while Taylor added his team-leading 16th home run of the season. Henry and Finnerty tallied a double on the day, with Connor Short also doubling as part of his 1-for-3 day that included an RBI.
Alabama gained an early 2-0 advantage, scoring one run in each of the first two frames. Taylor homered with the bases empty in the top of the first to give UA its first run. In the second, Henry got things started with a leadoff double. With one down, the pitch got away from the Vandy catcher on strike three, allowing Henry to move to third and the batter to reach. The Crimson Tide then employed the squeeze play, as Finnerty dropped down a perfect bunt to bring in Henry and make it 2-0.
The Commodores plated their first run in the bottom of the sixth. A one-out single started the sequence. Vandy then sent a two-out liner to right that was on the tip of Hunter Alexander’s glove, but the impact of the ground bounced the ball out, resulting in an RBI-triple for Vandy to make it a 2-1 game after six full.
In the next half inning, Alabama regained its two-run advantage. Finnerty chopped a one-out double over the head of the third baseman into the corner in left, before Short scored him with an RBI-double just past the diving VU center fielder to set the score at 3-1. Vandy moved the lead back to one, as the Commodores collected a solo homer to right to make it 3-2 with two innings left to play.
Vanderbilt was able to tie it up in the bottom of the eighth, as an Alabama balk moved a runner in from third to make it a 3-3 contest.