Alabama came into Wednesday night’s baseball game against the No. 1 seed Florida Gators on a six-game win streak but couldn’t extend it to seven games, losing a heartbreaker in the 11th inning, 7-6.
Alabama got in a hole early after Florida’s shortstop Josh Rivera drove the ball over the left field fence for a two-run homer. The Crimson Tide bounced back in the fourth inning piecing together three straight innings in which they scored one run each to take a 3-2 lead. A throwing error in the eighth inning by Alabama allowed Florida to tie it up 3-3 to eventually send the game into extra innings.
In the top of the 11th inning, Alabama seemed to blow the game open with a three-run RBI double from left fielder Tommy Seidl, bringing the mostly Alabama crowd to their feet thinking they had just pulled off a huge upset over the No. 1 seed Florida. Just minutes later, the same fans that were celebrating a potential upset were left in shock after Florida’s BT Riopelle crushed a three-run home run to right center to walk it off for the Gators and send the Crimson Tide to the loser’s bracket.
The Crimson Tide got a great pitching performance from their starter Luke Holman who pitched five and two-thirds innings allowing just four hits with his only mistake being the two-run homer he gave up in the first inning. Aidan Moza took over in relief for Holman and also put together a strong performance pitching four and one-thirds innings allowing just one earned run on two hits and eventually giving the ball to the Alabama closer, Alton Davis II. Davis II suffered his second loss of the season, unable to record an out in the eleventh inning allowing three hits with the third being the most costly, a three-run walk-off home run by Riopelle.
With elimination on the line Thursday, Alabama will have to shake off the heartbreaking loss and come prepared to battle to keep their hopes of being a host team in the upcoming NCAA baseball tournament.
“It’s a kick in the gut,” Alabama interim coach Jason Jackson said. “It’s OK to be pissed. You should be pissed. “But we’ll go back to the hotel, going to eat and be pissed off for a little while and it’s OK. But when we wake up tomorrow, that score resets to 0-0, and when we get to the ballpark, we got to be ready to bring it.”
Alabama came into Wednesday’s game hoping to make their case to the NCAA that they deserve to be a No. 1 seed and host a regional in the NCAA baseball tournament next month. The Crimson Tide will have another chance Thursday to help their cause in the second game playing the loser of the last game of the day Wednesday night between No. 4 seed Vanderbilt and No. 5 seed Auburn.
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