By Alex Scott
Special to The Tuscaloosa News
It was another slow start for Alabama.
For the second straight day, the Crimson Tide baseball fell to the Missouri Tigers. In Saturday’s 7-3 loss at Sewell-Thomas Stadium, Alabama walked three batters and allowed two runs in the top of the first inning.
Alabama responded, closing the Missouri lead to 4-3 in the bottom of the fourth after back-to-back RBIs from Cody Henry and Kyle Kaufman. But a tough sixth inning for freshman pitcher Davis Vainer allowed Missouri to stretch the lead to 7-3.
“Davis Vainer has been our guy, I wouldn’t have brought him in in the fifth inning if he hadn’t been our guy,” said Alabama head coach Greg Goff. “He’s just young, he’s a freshman.”
Goff felt the Tide improved at the plate Saturday after being shutout in the opening game of the series.
“The last nine outs we had I thought we really, besides the one pop up there, I really thought we had some good at bats,” Goff said. “That’s just the game, you hit a ball hard, and you might not get anything from it.”
Trailing by four, Alabama (10-9, 0-2 SEC) had a chance to climb back into the game again in the bottom of the eighth inning with the bases loaded and no outs. Sophomore Cobie Vance brought in a run on a sacrifice fly. Henry and Kyle Kaufman followed with fly outs to end the threat.
“We’ve got the bases loaded and Vance hits a line drive to the left fielder, that’s just part of the game,” Goff said. “I was really pleased at how our guys didn’t give up, they didn’t quit.”
Kaufman got back into the lineup in place of Tanner DeVinny and responded well, going 2-for-4 with his first career home run in the second and an RBI single in the fourth.
“We’ve got to somehow find a way where we can get him and DeVinny in there, I think both of those guys are swinging it pretty good,” Goff said. “I’m really proud of how Kaufman has responded to not playing a couple games, he definitely is a good hitter and he stepped up for us today.”
Sophomore left fielder Keith Holcombe exited the game early after colliding with the fence chasing a foul ball.
“He hit the fence out there on that foul ball and kind of jammed his shoulder a little bit,” Goff said. “I’ll be surprised if he can go tomorrow.”
First pitch for Sunday’s game is noon.