TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – The No. 2 seeded Alabama baseball team suffered a 5-2 loss to the third-seeded Troy Trojans in the opening game of the NCAA Tallahassee Regional from Dick Howser Stadium on Friday afternoon.
Troy scored all their runs in the fourth inning, scoring five runs off Crimson Tide (34-27) starting pitcher Charley Sullivan (5-7). Sullivan, who lasted just 3.1 innings in the game, gave up five runs on five hits with a walk in the fourth inning. Taylor Guilbeau came in to replace Sullivan with one out in the fourth inning and finished the game for Alabama to save the rest of the bullpen. Guilbeau threw a season-high 5.2 innings without allowing a run. He gave up just two hits, walked one and struck out four.
“I give a lot of credit to Troy, they did a really good job today,” said head coach Mitch Gaspard. “McCain did a super job on the mound for them and Santos had a big home run. We just couldn’t overcome the five-run inning there. We hit a few balls pretty good that didn’t get down. That’s why you play double elimination. There’s still a lot to keep playing for, we have to get ready to play tomorrow.”
Guilbeau also started against the Trojans (41-18) when the two teams met in Tuscaloosa. In that game, he got the win after throwing 5.0 innings, allowing one run on seven hits with five strikeouts. In 10.2 innings against Troy this season, Guilbeau has allowed one run on nine hits with a walk and nine strikeouts.
Troy starting pitcher Shane McCain (9-1) went 6.2 innings, allowing two earned runs on seven hits with a walk and six strikeouts. The Tide was unable to put a lot of pressure on McCain, who gave up a run in the third and a run in the seventh. After McCain, Nate Hill threw 2.0 scoreless innings without allowing a hit and striking out three. Tanner Hicks got the final out for the Trojans to record his second save of the year.
Alabama had a total of seven hits in the game as Brett Booth was 2-for-4 with a run scored. Austen Smith hit his team-leading seventh home run of the season, and Kenny Roberts walked twice and had a sacrifice fly in the third inning that gave the Tide a one run lead at the time.
Josh McDorman had two of Troy’s eight hits in the game. Trae Santos hit his team-leading 17th home run of the year, a three-run bomb in the five-run, fourth inning. Ali Knowles was 1-for-4 with a two-run single in the fourth inning.
After McCain retired the first six batters he faced, the Tide got three singles and a run in the third inning to take an early lead. Booth and Andrew Miller singled to open the inning, before Booth scored on a sacrifice fly to left field by Roberts.
Troy responded in the next half inning with a five-run fourth. After Logan Pierce doubled and Danny Collins walked, Santos hit the first pitch he saw from Sullivan the opposite way to give the Trojans a 3-1 lead. McDorman kept the rally going when he singled after the Santos home run. Justin Hancock reached on an error and then a sacrifice bunt put runners on second and third for the Knowles two-RBI single up the middle to make the score 5-1. Sullivan’s day came to an end after Brandon Brown singled for the fifth hit of the inning.
Alabama got a run back in the eighth, when Austen Smith hit a solo home run to left field to lead off the inning. The Tide had runners on first and second, but Georgie Salem went down swinging to end the inning.
The Tide brought the potential game-tying run to the plate in the bottom of the ninth inning after pinch hitter Ryan Blanchard and Roberts walked. After Troy made a pitching change, Hicks got Salem to fly out to center field to end the game.
Courtesy: Alabama Media Relations