Tide Falls In NCAA Opener

Alabama, the national number three seed, was an upset victim in the first round of NCAA Tournament play Friday night. The Crimson Tide of Coach Jim Wells fell to Southeast Missouri State, 7-4, at Sewell-Thomas Stadium in Tuscaloosa.

In the first game, Auburn was also upset, falling to Florida Atlantic, 16-11, meaning Bama and Auburn will meet Saturday morning in an elimination game. The game begins at 11 a.m. CDT.

Alabama's loss was the Tide's first as an NCAA Tournament host team. Bama came injto the game with a 13-0 home record in previous NCAA Tournament games. Alabama is now 30-3 at Sewell-Thomas this season.

Southeast Missouri State and Florida Atlantic will meet in the winners' bracket Saturday at 3 p.m. The winner of the Alabama-Auburn game and the loser of the Southeast Missouri-Florida Atlantic game will play an elimination game at 7 p.m. CDT Friday.

The championship game or games will be Sunday afternoon – and Alabama would have to win two games Saturday and two games Sunday in order to advance to a Super Regional, which in that case would also be in Tuscaloosa.

Alabama, which won the Southeastern Conference Tournament Championship last weekend, fell to 48-14 on the season.

Alabama will pitch ace Lance Cormier against Auburn. In regular season play, Bama took three games from the Tigers this season, all games in Tuscaloosa and all games hard fought.

Missouri Valley, champion of the Ohio Valley Conference, improved to 37-18 with the win.

The Indians scored two runs in the first inning and two more in the second and were never headed by Alabama. Brent Boyd drove in a run for Bama in the first inning with his record 14rh career sacrifice fly. Shane Sanders took the loss.

Bama did tie the game at 4-4 in the second when Jeremy Brown became the all-time Alabama runs batted in leader with a bases-loaded double. He has 227 career RBI. However, the Indians immediately took the lead with two runs in the fourth and added a seventh run on a solo home run that ended the day for Tide starting pitcher Shane Sanders. Sanders took the loss, dropping his record to 8-4.

Although he didn't figure in the decision, relief pitcher Brent Carter did very well, going four innings and not allowing a run.

Pete Stonard went three-for-four for Bama, but with men on first and second and none out in the sixth inning, he rapped into a rally-killing double play.

Wells said, "We'll find out now if we have any depth in our pitching staff. You can't hold anything back now."

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