Alabama came into Sunday afternoon with a fresh bullpen and a chance to win a series against a top-10 team. It left the weekend with a battered group of relievers and a 10-2 loss to Arkansas.
The Crimson Tide (19-6, 2-4 SEC) had six pitchers throw at least one inning, and No. 7 (20-4, 5-1 SEC) scored on four of them. Starting pitcher Wil Freeman gave up two runs in the top of the first, including a leadoff homer. Arkansas continued to extend its lead from there.
“We came into the game today and had decided we were going to kind of script the pitching, knew we were going to pitch six or seven guys and try to get guys in and out of the game and give (Arkansas) different looks,” coach Brad Bohannon said. “Obviously it didn’t work real well for us, and we didn’t do enough offensively either. A tough day against a really good club.”
Freeman threw only two innings, giving up three hits and a walk. Righty Kyle Cameron, who had a 3.97 earned run average entering the game, gave up three hits and two earned runs in the third inning as Alabama fell behind 4-0. Righty Chase Lee, who hadn’t given up an earned run all season, came on in the fourth. He struck out the side only to allow four earned runs without recording an out in the fifth.
It scarcely got better from there. Lefty Garret Rukes didn’t give up a run but allowed two hits while getting one out in relief of Lee. Junior Davis Vainer finally entered in the fifth and steadied things, throwing 2 2/3 innings without allowing a run.
Arkansas scored its final two runs off righty Deacon Medders in the top of the eighth. Closer Jeremy Randolph, who hadn’t pitched during the series, worked a 1-2-3 ninth.
“That was a tough matchup for us,” Bohannon said. “They had six left handers in the lineup; four lefties and two switch hitters. The best way to offset left handed hitting is with left handed breaking balls and right handed changeups. We just don’t have a lot of left handed pitching.”
Alabama’s offense was mostly quiet, with five hits and five walks scattered through the afternoon. Freshman first baseman Drew Williamson was 2-4 and center fielder Joe Breaux was 0-3 with two walks. Alabama had the bases loaded with two outs in the seventh while trailing 8-2, but designated hitter John Trousdale struck out. He finished the day 1-2 with a walk and an RBI. Alabama finished 0-8 with runners in scoring position and also committed two errors.
“We could have certainly executed pitches better, but that’s a good club,” Bohannon said. “Nobody is happy with the way the game went but we were going to have to be really, really pinpoint for 120 pitches today and we weren’t.”
Reach Ben Jones at email@example.com or 205-722-0196.