After battling back from 5-0 and 6-2 deficits, Alabama saw Tennessee Tech score two runs in the seventh inning, including one on a costly two-out error, to drop its second straight midweek game.
"I thought we would be able to comeback (after the first inning)," Alabama Coach Jim Wells said. "We scored some runs, but just could not hold them down. We had a couple of balls fall in that one inning that should not have, and they took the lead. We are not doing many things well right now."
This is not a good time to not be doing things well.
Alabama remains at home this weekend to host the Nebraska Cornhuskers in a series featuring two Top 20 teams. The series opener is set for Friday, at 6:30 p.m. (CST). Saturday's game is at 4 p.m. and the series concludes Sunday at 11 a.m. (CDT...don't forget to "spring forward.")
The Golden Eagles (7-5) scored two runs in the seventh inning to take the lead for good at 8-6 after the Crimson Tide had tied the game with four runs in the bottom of the sixth inning.
Steve Soper started the rally with a one-out double to right and scored on Michael Roeder's two-out single to center to give Tech the lead for good at 7-6. After Roeder took second on a wild pitch, the Golden Eagles added an unearned run when Elvin Vargas dropped a fly ball in right field that would have been the third out of the inning.
Soper went 2-for-5 with one RBI and scored three runs for the Golden Eagles. Roeder was 4-for-5 with two runs scored and two RBI in the winning effort.
Tech's seventh inning rally came on the heels of a four-run sixth inning by Alabama, highlighted by Kent Matthes' two-run home run.
Ryan Rhoden drew a lead off walk and scored on Matthes' towering, two-run home run down the left field line to cut the lead to 6-4. Vargas walked, took second on a wild pitch and moved to third on Greg Paiml's single up the middle.
Emeel Salem then ripped an RBI single up the middle to score Vargas and pull UA to within a run at 6-5. Jeff Texada's sacrifice fly scored Paiml from third base with the tying run. After a pair of wild pitches sent Salem to third base, Jake Smith drew a two-out walk before Alex Avila grounded out to end the inning.
Jake Edwards, a native of Oxford, Alabama, worked 3 1/3 scoreless innings for the Golden Eagles to earn his third win of the season.
Alabama sophomore right-hander Casey Kebodeaux (2-1) was the tough-luck loser in relief as he allowed two runs and three hits in 2 2/3 innings.
Tennessee Tech jumped on UA starter Patrick Kelly, making his first career start on the mound, for five runs on five hits in the first inning. Steve Soper's infield ground out plated Brian Sprowl with the first run and three batters later Sean Reilly ripped a three-run triple to the deepest part of the ballpark to score three runs for the 4-0 lead. Reilly later scored on passed ball to give Tech a 5-0 lead.
Kelly, who left the game after allowing a leadoff double to Sprowl to open the second inning, was charged with five runs and six hits in one-plus inning. He walked one and struck out one.
Alabama (12-4) got two runs back in the bottom of the second inning to cut the deficit to 5-2. Alex Avila drew a leadoff walk and scored when Matthes reached on a throwing error by shortstop Ryan Wardlow. Rhoden singled and later scored on Vargas' bloop single to right.
Tennessee Tech stretched its lead to 6-2 in the fifth inning when Soper doubled and scored on Michael Roeder's single against a drawn-in infield before Alabama rallied to tie the game in the sixth.
*Tennessee Tech scored five runs in the first inning, more than Alabama had allowed in its previous 15 games. Entering the game, Alabama had allowed only two first-inning runs all season.
*Sophomore right-hander Austin Hyatt (Marietta, Ga.) stranded a runner at second base in the top of the second inning and has now stranded all eight inherited runners this season.
*Senior center fielder Emeel Salem (Mountain Brook) recorded his 12th career triple in the bottom of the eighth inning to tie G.W. Keller (1997-99) for the all-time record at Alabama with 12 career three-base hits.