Bama Baseball Falls in Extra Innings

The No. 22 University of Alabama baseball team lost it's third straight one-run game, falling 4-3 in 10 innings to Samford Wednesday night in front of a Samford record 1,557 fans at Joe Lee Griffin Field in Birmingham.

Alabama (13-7) has lost five of its last six games, after a 12-2 start this season.

The Crimson Tide had 12 hits in the loss, but lacked the timely hit in its first loss to Samford in Birmingham since 1992. Alabama stranded 11 base runners and rapped into two double plays in the loss.

"We did enough to win on the mound," Alabama head coach Jim Wells said. "That was a winnable game. We just can't seem to find a way to win these types of games. We have to find a way to win these games."

Samford (10-8), winners of five the last six games, scored single runs in the first, third, fourth and 10th innings for the win. Samford first baseman Garret Rice, a .176 hitter, drew a two-out walk in the 10th inning against senior right hander Bernard Robert. Samford catcher Luke Peavy, who had three hits in the game, dumped an RBI single in front of Alabama senior center fielder Emeel Salem to score pinch-runner Jonathan Lowrey with the winning run. Robert (2-3) allowed one run and one hit in two-thirds of an inning for his third straight loss.

Alabama wasted a golden opportunity to take the lead in the the top of the 10th inning before falling in the bottom of the frame. The Crimson Tide put the first two runners on base in the 10th inning against closer Joseph Edens. Sophomore right fielder Kent Matthes slapped a lead off single to right and junior first baseman Matt Bentley reached when Peavy made a bad throw to first base on a sacrifice bunt attempt.

Sophomore Ryan Rhoden fouled off three straight bunt attempts for the first strikeout, before Edens struck out freshman third baseman Brandon May and senior left fielder Brandon Belcher to end the inning.

Alabama tied the game off Edens in the ninth inning as Salem singled to left to score Belcher, who led off the inning with a walk. Belcher reached base four times in the loss, including three walks.

Edens was charged with the blown save, but earned the win when Samford rallied in the bottom of the 10th inning. Edens (2-1) worked two innings and allowed one run and three hits, with one walk and three strikeouts.

The Bulldogs scored first with run in the bottom of the first inning. Kyle Krebs drew a leadoff walk and moved to second on Michael Marseco's sacrifice bunt. Parker Gargis followed with a single to left to move Krebs to third. Krebs scored on Bear Burnett's ground out.

Alabama answered with a run in the top of the second inning when Bentley launched a 3-1 fastball over the right-center field fence to tie the game at 1-1. It was Bentley's fourth home run of the season and second in as many games.

The Crimson Tide ran itself out of a potential big inning in the third inning. After back-to-back one-out singles by freshman Jake Smith and sophomore Alex Avila, Matthes lined into an inning-ending double play as Avila was forced out at second base.

Samford took advantage of crucial two-out error in the bottom of the third inning to take a 2-1 lead. Gargis poked a two-out single to right field and moved into scoring position on Kebodeaux's SEC-leading seventh wild pitch of the season. Burnett then reached on an error by freshman Jake Smith, who was playing his first game at second base, to allow Gargis to score the go-ahead run from second base.

The Bulldogs extended the lead to 3-1 in the fourth inning on Luke Peavy's, who was hitting less than .200 on the year, stroked his second home run of the season to center field.

Alabama got a run back in the fifth inning when Avila's infield single scored senior Brandon Belcher from third base with two outs. Belcher led off the inning with an infield single and moved to second when senior shortstop Greg Paiml walked on four pitches.

After Salem struck out, Smith reached on a fielder's choice when Samford shortstop Michael Marseco could not turn an inning-ending double play. Avila followed with an infield single to score Belcher and cut the lead to 3-2. Avila and Smith both moved up one base on second baseman Parker Gargis' throwing error, but UA stranded two more runners when Matthes ended the inning with a ground out.

GAME NOTES:

*Freshman Jake Smith (Shannon) made his first start at second base Wednesday night at Samford. Smith has started 15 games this season, including 13 at third base and one each at second base and designated hitter.

*Alabama is playing its first of two games in the Birmingham area this season. In addition to tonight's game at Samford, Alabama will play UAB at the Hoover Wednesday, April 4. The Crimson Tide and Bulldogs will also meet again Wednesday, April 25 in Tuscaloosa.


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