Wild Pitches Cost Tide Vs. Georgia

Alabama overcame a seven-run deficit in the second inning, but could not overcome two runs on wild pitches in a decisive sixth inning as No. 1 Georgia salvaged the final game of the series with a 10-8 win over the Crimson Tide at Sewell-Thomas Stadium.

Georgia scored seven runs in the second inning to take a 7-0 lead only to see Alabama answer with five runs in the bottom of the inning. Senior right fielder Kent Matthes gave the Tide an 8-7 lead in the fourth inning with a three-run home run to left field. It was his NCAA-leading 13th home run in 16 games this year.

The Bulldogs (15-2, 1-2 SEC) scored twice in the sixth inning without the benefit of a hit. After retiring the first batter, junior left-hander David Head hit Michael Demperio with a 1-2 pitch and then yielded a four-pitch walks to Levi Hyams, the nine-hole hitter.

After falling behind 3-0 to Jonathan Taylor, Head battled back and struck out the Georgia leadoff hitter. Demperio and Hyams executed the double steal on the play and that proved to be the difference as Head, who got ahead of Matt Cerione with two strikes, uncorked two wild pitches that allowed Demperio and Hyams to score the go-ahead runs.

Alabama (11-5, 2-1 SEC) tried to make another comeback in the seventh and eighth innings, but could not get the timely hit. UA had runners and first and second with one out in the seventh, before Will Harvil struck out Taylor Dugas and got Josh Rutledge on a pop-up to right field. In the eighth, Alabama got a leadoff single from Ross Wilson and a two-out single from Vin Difazio before leaving two more on base. Jake Smith's 12-pitch at-bat against Weaver ended with a pop to short.

Harvil (1-0) earned the win with three scoreless innings of relief. He allowed three hits and added three strikeouts. Weaver got his first save of the year with two scoreless innings of relief.

Head (0-3) took the loss for Alabama after he allowed five runs and five hits in 4 1/3 innings out of the bullpen.

The Crimson Tide out-hit the Bulldogs 13-9 in the loss and stranded 11 base runners.

The two teams combined for 12 runs and nine hits in a 30-minute second inning to give the Bulldogs a 7-5 lead.

Georgia scored seven runs on seven hits to chase starter Austin Graham after only four outs. Lyle Allen's RBI double to right knocked in the first run of the game. Demperio and Hyams added RBI singles to chase Graham. Cerione greeted David Head with an RBI single before Colby May's two-run home run put the Bulldogs in front 7-0.

Alabama came back with five runs of its own in the bottom of the second inning to cut the deficit to 7-5. DiFazio drew a one-out walk and Smith followed with an infield hit to put runners at first and second. Trotter stroked an RBI single to left-center field to score DiFazio and chase Smith to third. Smith scored on a wild pitch by Georgia starter Jason Leaver to make it 7-2. Kubal was then hit by a pitch to load the bases and Dugas followed with a two-run single to cut the lead to 7-4.

Josh Rutledge greeted reliever Michael Palazzone with an double off the wall to chase Dugas to third and

Wilson drove in the fifth run with a sac fly to right, scoring Dugas to make it 7-5.

Neither starter had any success on Sunday as Graham and Leaver combined to allow 10 runs and nine hits, while recording only eight outs. Graham was charged with five runs and five hits in 1 1/3 innings, while Leaver was touched for five runs and four hits in 1 1/3 innings.

Alabama erased a seven-run deficit with three more runs in the fourth inning when Matthes connected on his NCAA-leading 13th home run to give the Tide an 8-7 lead. Dugas opened the inning with a single to center and moved to second on Wilson's one-out single to left. Palazzone uncorked a wild pitch to move both Dugas and Wilson into scoring position for Matthes who then slammed a 2-2 pitch over the left field wall to give the Tide a one-run lead.

Georgia tied the game in the fifth on a solo home run by Rich Poythress, his eighth of the year.

Alabama closes out its six-game home stand with a two-game midweek series with Alabama A&M on Tuesday, March 17, at 6:35 p.m. (CST) and Wednesday, March 18, at 2:05 p.m. (CST). Tickets are available for both games two hours prior to first pitch at Sewell-Thomas Stadium or at www.RollTide.com

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