Hungover Tide Falls To Birmingham

The 16th ranked Crimson Tide was riding high after their series win over number one Arkansas this past weekend. The Tide looks hungover, listless, and out of sorts on Tuesday night in losing to a -bluntly- bad Birmingham University team. Alabama entered the week with an RPI of 12 while the Blazers RPI came in at 185. The loss dropped Bama to 24-13 on the season while the Blazers improved to 16-19. The teams split the season series with one win apiece. The all time record between the two teams is now 57-29 in favor of the Tide and 31-11 in Sewell-Thomas Stadium.

Junior left hander Kade Snell drew the starting assignment on the mound against the Blazers freshman Brooks House. The Tide was out of sorts right out of the gate. Two infield singles that should have been outs, followed by a fielders choice, a sacrifice fly, and another fielders choice on a ball 15 feet in front of the plate, scored two runs for the visitors. Bama bounced back in the bottom of the first when Gage Miller led off the inning with his 15th home run of the season. After a fly out, Justin LeBron blasted his 6th long ball of the year off the top of the scoreboard in left field.

Snell had a perfect 2nd inning before being replaced by Austin Morris, who contributed two scoreless innings, allowing only two singles. LeBron made another Sports Center worthy top 10 play when he ranged into the hole to snag a ball and did a jump throw to first to throw the batter out.

Birmingham coach Casey Dunn replaced House with Collin Patterson in the 2nd inning, and over three innings the Tide only reached base one time, on a 4th inning walk to Evan Sleight. Patterson entered the game with an ERA of 6.46 on the season. Jansen Kenty was next on the mound for the Tide, called on to begin the 5th. A lead off walk and sac bunt put Logan Braunschweig in scoring position at second base. Braunschweig tried to steal third base but was cut down by freshman catcher Luke Vaughn, who was making only his second start of the season. Brayton Brown lifted a routing fly ball to right field that caught a gust and blew toward the corner. Right fielder Sleight had a bead on the ball and reached the wall and leapt, just missing the ball as it bounced off the top of the wall into the plaza for a home run. Kenty walked the next man and was replaced by Coulson Buchanan. Darryll Buggs lifted a pop fly double to right to put runners on 2nd and 3rd base. Buchanan uncorked a wild pitch to score Nick Hollifield for a 4-2 lead.

After Pattersons three clean innings Dunn brought Christian Clack in next. Clack’s season ERA was 6.46 as he threw his first pitch. Again, over three innings, Clack tossed three scoreless innings, allowing only an infield single to Sleight, and hitting Miller twice with pitches. The second time was in the area of the foot/ankle and Miller was down for an extended period before rising and staying in the game. With runners on 1st and 3rd and two outs the Tide could not manage to score.

Buchanan had a scoreless 1.1 innings pitched before being replaced by Braylon Myers in the 7th. Myers finished the game out for Tide, allowing only a 8th inning lead off triple to Buggs, who later scored on a sacrifice fly by Mayes White. Myers totaled three innings, allowing only the one hit, one run, with no walks and five strikeouts.

John Luke Marlin followed Clack’s three innings for the Blazers, entering in the 8th. Marlin sported an ERA of an astronomical 17.48 before his two perfect innings against the Tide. Bama went six up, six down against the sidewinder.

Alabama hit 5-31 in the game with one walk, two hit batters, eight strikeouts, and six men left on base. Miller hit 1-2 with his home run and two hit by pitches. LeBron was 1-4 with his home run. Snell, Sleight, and McCants all had one single each. Kenty was saddled with the loss and is now 0-1 on the season.

Birmingham hit 8-33 with two walks, seven strikeouts, and left seven on base. Buggs was 2-4 with a double and a triple and was the only man with more than one hit in the game. Patterson improved to 2-1 with the win and Marlin earned his first save of the season.

No way to sugar coat the game. This was a bad loss against a bad team. Neither the crowd of the team seemed to have any juice at all. The lackluster play out of the gate set the tone and led to a loss to a team that Bama should pummel. But this is baseball, and it is a midweek game, and several teams have fallen to opponents that they have no business losing too. LSU lost to Southern University earlier this season, Auburn lost to Alabama A&M. Florida has lost multiple games to no name teams, just for a few examples. The problem is, after beating the number one team last week, the new number one team comes to town on Thursday for a three game series. Texas A&M is the new top dog and the Tide will have their work cut out for them.

Thursday’s opening game is at 6 p.m. CT and will be shown on the SEC Network. Friday’s game two is also at 6 p.m. and will be SEC Network Plus, as will Saturday’s final game, set for 2 p.m. Come out for some great SEC baseball if you are in the area.

Roll Tide

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