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Alabama rallies for comeback win at Missouri

 Rory Whetstone   in Baseball

The Missouri Tigers (23-14, 5-11 Southeastern Conference) fell to the Alabama Crimson Tide (27-12, 7-9 Southeastern Conference) by a score of 6-4 at Taylor Stadium in Columbia, Mo., on Friday night.

Alabama jumped out to a quick lead due to an error by Cam Chick in the outfield. Unfortunately, what should have been a routine fly ball, bounced right out of Chick’s glove. It let the man at the plate, Jim Jarvis, make it all the way to third base. Jarvis then crossed home plate on an RBI groundout from Tommy Seidl. The Tide ultimately left two men on base but led 1-0 after their half of the inning.

Missouri responded immediately to tie the game. After Luke Mann reached first base on a fielder’s choice, Luke Holman walked the next two batters. 

The Tigers had a great opportunity with the bags loaded. Holman slowly recollected himself and struck out Dalton Bargo. However, with Dylan Leach at the plate, he threw a wild pitch and Mann came sliding across home plate. Alike Alabama, Missouri stranded two runners and the inning ended in a 1-1 tie. 

Both pitchers showed off their dominance from the bump in the second inning. In the top of the second, all Chandler Murphy surrendered was a walk, before rolling Jaxson West into a twin-killing, inning-ending double play. Holman also displayed heat as he struck out the side.

Over the next two and a half innings the teams remained at a stand-still, but Missouri broke through in the bottom of the fifth. 

Leading things off, Chick singled up the middle and eventually took second base on an errant throw from Holman. Ty Wilmsmeyer then reached first base on a fielding error by Ed Johnson and Chick scored on the play. Continuing to suffer from errors, Wilmsmeyer stole second base and advanced to third on a wild throw from the Tide’s catcher, Dominic Tamez. 

Alabama’s defense committed two errors in the fifth inning and had four errors by the end of the game. It is their most in a game this season. 

Alabama turned to a pitching change to try and distinguish Missouri’s offense but it took Hagan Banks a little time to settle in. After Luke Mann struck out, Trevor Austin hit an RBI single to left field and Missouri earned their third run of the game. Austin has now driven in runs in 13 of his 14 chances with runners on third base. 

Unfortunately for Missouri, their offense then collapsed in the next inning. On a 3-2 count, Tamez blasted a home run over the wall in center field. On the very next pitch, Andrew Pinckney also hit a home run.

The game was already back to a tie, but Alabama wasn’t done adding runs to the board.

After he retired the next batter, Murphy’s night was done. While he had looked strong throughout most of the game, he had a harsh sixth inning. He displayed this strength after only allowing two runs, striking out five, and throwing a total of 106 pitches. 

Austin Troesser entered in relief and then surrendered another home run. After Johnson walked, West hit a no-doubter over the center field wall and gave the Tide the lead for the rest of the day. It was his first round-tripper of the season. 

After six innings, it was 5-3 and both teams would score one more run. 

Missouri came within one run in the sixth inning with a home run from Leach. It was his third home run of the season and they are the most he has had in a season in his collegiate career, both with Missouri and Arkansas. 

Alabama scored their sixth and final run of the game in the top of the seventh. Tamez hit his second XBH of the game as he knocked a double right down the field line. He was driven home when Colby Shelton hit a double to the exact same area. 

After the seventh, both teams' relievers locked in as Alabama only recorded two hits and Missouri with one. 

While Missouri had luck in the ninth inning of their midweek series and had a walk-off hero, they couldn’t produce offense in the final inning against Alabama. 

Rest of the Series

After dropping the first game of the series, Missouri looks to take the next two to win their first SEC series since swapping Tennessee in mid-March. 

To accomplish this, the Tigers will need to shut down Tamez who had a career-high four hits on the night. 

It was one of the main issues head coach Steve Beiser wants to fix before Game 2.

“We have got to do a better job of pitching to locations where he might be a little bit weaker," he said. "We have to attack those spots. He’s a guy that we can get out and we just need to make better pitches.”

Along with pitching location, Beiser wants his team to focus on cleaner defense. In eight of their last ten games Missouri has committed at least two errors and they tend to be fatal. 

Injury Update

Ross Lovich is back in the lineup this week and is expected to get some at-bats from pinch-hitting. 

His last game was March 19th against Tennessee.