Comeback Falls Short for Alabama Baseball against Texas A&M
TUSCALOOSA, Ala. – Alabama baseball fell just short in its comeback effort against Texas A&M, suffering a 3-2 loss in the series finale with the Aggies on Saturday afternoon at Sewell-Thomas Stadium. The Crimson Tide sits at 14-22 overall for the season and 2-13 in conference play.
“I'm really proud of the way or guys went out there today and competed,” said Alabama head coach Greg Goff. “I love the resiliency of these players and what they're doing. I thought those were the best two-strike at-bats (in the ninth inning) we've had all year with Cobie (Vance) and Chandler (Taylor)."
Facing a 3-1 deficit entering the final half inning, Alabama used a one-out double from Chandler Avant to start the ninth-inning rally. After advancing to third on a groundout, Avant came across to score on a wild pitch, making it a one-run game. Cobie Vance extended the Alabama ninth with a two-out single to right before Chandler Taylor drew a walk to put runners at first and second. With both the tying and winning runs on base, the Tide was unable to capitalize on the opportunity, as a strikeout swinging ended the game.
The Crimson Tide received another impressive performance from Nick Eicholtz, with the senior putting together his best start of the season. The right-hander tossed 6.0 innings of scoreless baseball, limiting the Aggies to just one hit while issuing four walks and striking out a season-high six batters across a career-high tying 109 pitches. Eicholtz cruised through the middle innings, retiring 12 in order and recording 13 consecutive outs at one point before working himself out of a jam in the sixth to close out his afternoon. In that sixth inning, Eicholtz had runners on the corners with one down before getting a huge strikeout followed by a lineout to end the A&M threat.
“Nick’s start today was a big plus for us,” Goff added of Eicholtz. “He's fought through some injuries and hasn't had the start to this season that he wanted to, but he told me last week that he was going to finish strong. I'm just really proud of the way he continues to go out there, compete and give our team the chance to win."
Alabama struck first in Saturday’s series finale, using a two-out rally to plate one in the bottom of the first. Vance started things, sending a single to left, before coming across to score in the next at-bat thanks to an RBI-double from Chandler Taylor, giving UA an early 1-0 advantage.
Both teams went scoreless for the next five frames as the two starting pitchers battled. Texas A&M grabbed the lead in the top of the seventh with a three-run inning. A two-out single followed by a walk placed runners on first and second for the Aggies before a three-run home run put A&M in front, 3-1, heading to the stretch.
The Tide added one in the ninth to make it a one-run game, but would come no closer, as the tying and winning runs were stranded on base.
Alabama’s offense had eight of the nine starters record at least one hit, as the Tide finished with 11 total hits on the afternoon. Vance led UA once again, contributing a career-high tying four hits in five at-bats, including one double, and adding a run scored. Avant finished 1-for-4 with his double in the ninth, as both he and Vance each extended their hitting streaks. Avant has now hit safely in 10 consecutive contests overall and eight straight SEC pairings, while Vance is right behind with a hit in nine straight games and seven SEC contests.
Next up for Alabama is a midweek matchup with Alcorn State at Sewell-Thomas Stadium on Tuesday, April 18. First pitch of the contest between the Crimson Tide and Braves is set for 6 p.m. CT on SEC Network+.