There was no mystery in Mississippi State’s final salvo against Alabama baseball on Friday night. The two-run homer from Bulldog third baseman Justin Foscue that cleared the left field wall in the top of the 10th inning with enough room to let the Bulldogs breathe.
That home run gave the Bulldogs a 14-12 win over Alabama in extra innings. It ended a wild night at Sewell-Thomas Stadium that included five lead changes and a tie. It’s Alabama’s 10th straight SEC loss, putting the Crimson Tide (23-24, 5-17 SEC) five games behind the Bulldogs (24-21, 10-13 SEC) for sixth place in the West with eight league games to go. It’s the first time Alabama has fallen under .500 this season.
“I feel bad for these older kids,” coach Brad Bohannon said. “We made plenty of mistakes, but we deserved to win the game tonight. Not to discredit Mississippi State, they made a lot of pitches and hits and plays and all that. That’s the emotion I feel. I just feel bad for our kids.”
Alabama held a four-run lead in the first after a grand slam from Chandler Taylor, then trailed 5-4 by the end of the second. The Crimson Tide came back and led 11-5 after seven innings, but allowed seven runs in the top of the eighth to trail 12-11. Mississippi State had five singles and a double, also using an error and a
“You’re not supposed to give up (that many) singles in a row,” Bohannon said. “You think a ball is going to be hit to somebody eventually.”
Alabama tied the game at 12-12 in the bottom of the eighth, but missed chances to win the game with runners on third base in both the eighth and ninth innings. Mississippi State won the game with Foscue’s decisive home run in the top of the 10th.
Alabama’s 12 runs were the most it has scored in an SEC game this season and tied for the most it has scored in a game since mid-March. Freshman catcher Sam Praytor batted cleanup and led the way, going 4-for-5 with a an intentional walk and an RBI. Second baseman Chandler Avant was 3-for-6. Second baseman Cobie Vance, center fielder Joe Breaux and left fielder Keith Holcombe each had two hits.
“That was obviously a really tough loss, but at least offensively, the way we’ve swung the bats in league play, there were a lot of positives.”
Starter Sam Finnerty lasted into the eighth inning before being pulled without recording an out. He gave up eight runs, five of which were earned.
Shortstop Jett Manning had two costly errors. A ball hit him in the chest during the second-inning rally, when Mississippi State scored five runs. His had another error during the seven-run rally in the eighth inning.
Alabama was 7-for-19 with runners in scoring position, but stranded 13 runners on the night. Mississippi State was only 7-for-11, but only left two runners on base all game.
“I just feel really bad for our kids,” Bohannon said. “This is my 15th season in the league. I have a championship league and have finished in the top third a few times, have finished down at the bottom a few times. I have next year. This will always be my first team. I just feel bad. The kids are giving us everything they have.”
Reach Ben Jones at email@example.com or 205-722-0196.