The Crimson Tide put up the kind of fight that head coach Greg Goff wanted to see. But he’s still looking for a win this weekend.
The University of Alabama (3-3) fell behind Oral Roberts 5-1 on Saturday and tried to rally, but lost 5-4. The Golden Eagles clinched the series with the win after beating Alabama 6-3 on Friday night at Sewell-Thomas Stadium.
“Really was encouraged by the way they fought,” Goff said. “Just really think that we’re a hit away or two from tying that game up. Just really proud of how our guys fought and competed. There are things we definitely have to do better, and that’s my job and responsibility to do that. We’re going to work at it and get better.”
Oral Roberts (5-1) took control early with a two-run homer in the top of the first and never gave up the lead. Alabama starter Jake Walters settled in from there and didn’t allow another run until the fifth inning, when a leadoff double set the ORU offense up for two more runs.
Walters (1-1) left after 5 1/3 innings, giving up five earned runs on nine hits and two walks while striking out five. Walters also hit two batters and had three wild pitches. Alabama’s bullpen didn’t allow a run the rest of the way, but the Crimson Tide couldn’t summon enough offense to finish a comeback.
“It’s early in the year. We’re trying to figure out lineups and rotations,” Goff said. “If our bullpen doesn’t come in and get some big outs for us, that game’s not even close. I was really pleased with how we did. We’re just trying to figure these guys out. I didn’t recruit them, never seen them play, we’re just trying to figure out who’s going to do what.”
Alabama had 12 hits on the afternoon, but didn’t draw any walks and didn’t string hits together.
“Look at them tonight, they had a bunch of two-out hits,” designated hitter Cody Henry said. “That’s what ultimately led to a bunch of runs. I think if we can do that, and we can improve on that, we’ll be a lot better.”
Alabama was just 5-24 with runners on base, while Oral Roberts was 7-18. The Golden Eagles had 11 hits, but drew four walks and had two batters hit by pitches.
Henry was 2-4 with an RBI and a stolen base. Second baseman Cobie Vance and shortstop Chandler Avant each had two hits as well.
Alabama scored one run in the sixth and began the seventh inning with runners on first and second with no outs. Then Avant hit into a double play that limited Alabama’s chances in the inning. UA scored two runs after the double play, but couldn’t tie the game.
UA got a single from Avant in the bottom of the ninth with two outs to get one more chance, but pinch hitter Tanner DeVinny flew out to end the game.
“I told them tonight, we’re one hit away,” Goff said. “I loved how they competed, they came back and had a lot of courage. Give me 35 guys that do that, win, lose or draw, I can live with it. Our guys just fought to the very last pitch. You saw that. Avant hits the single, and if Tanner DeVinny hits one out, everybody is all happy tonight.”
Reach Ben Jones at firstname.lastname@example.org or 205-722-0196.