Alabama fails to sweep first series of seasonBy Cody Estremera | 02/19/2017 7:36pm
Alabama was cruising heading into the top of the fifth inning. Starter Dylan Duarte had a perfect game and a two run lead. Offensively, the bats were rolling, having seven hits through the first 12 outs.
However, that all changed when Colton Chapman stepped up to the plate. Chapman broke up the perfect game with a base hit up the middle, followed up with another single by Thatcher Coleman. From there, Presbyterian played small-ball, moving both runners over with a sacrifice bunt and then a sacrifice ground out to second baseman Cobie Vance. The Blue Hose ended up scoring two runs before the end of the inning.
Presbyterian took the lead in the sixth inning off of Nick Guimbarda’s single.
“Good players step up,” coach Greg Goff said. “This is a very experienced Presbyterian team. The teams that win, at the mid-major level, are experienced.”
Alabama evened it up in the bottom of the seventh when Vance singled to right field and Gene Wood came back to score. However, the tie was short lived, because Presbyterian’s leadoff hitter hit a screaming line drive into the right field student section to finalize the game at 4-3.
Duarte finished with a no-decision after allowing two runs through five innings. He also finished with four strikeouts. Garrett Suchey would take the loss. He pitched three innings and gave up two runs off five hits.
Chandler Taylor continued his hot streak with another home run, his third in two games. Kyle Kaufman finished 2-for-3 and a RBI. Like Goff, this was Kaufman’s first series in an Alabama uniform, starting two of the three games.
“It was fun,” Kaufman said. “Everyone did a great job. Coach prepared us extremely well.”
For Goff, this was his first loss as the Alabama head coach. The Crimson Tide was looking to sweep the Blue Hose and have a 3-0 record to start the season for the first time since 2015.
Alabama made a few mental mistakes on the base path that killed some of the momentum in the fourth inning. Cody Henry was on second base, when Presbyterian second baseman Cletis Avery missed a pop-up. Connor Short, thinking the ball would be caught, took a wide turn past first. Short was caught in a rundown eventually leading to Henry being tagged out.
“We are not good enough to overcome mental errors,” Goff said. “I haven’t been part of a team that could. When you make those you are probably going to lose.”
Alabama next faces off against Southern Miss on Tuesday. Southern Miss is 3-0 after sweeping Northeastern.
“Coach [Scott] Berry does a tremendous job, and I have a lot of respect for those guys,” Goff said. “They play hard and the right way. They can hit, so we are going to have to pitch very well.”