With momentum coming off an extra-inning Saturday night victory, the University of Alabama was able to get off to a good start on Sunday afternoon — but not good enough.
The Crimson Tide took a three-run lead against visiting Mississippi State but left 10 runners on base in the first five innings, leaving the door open for the Bulldogs to rally for a 6-4 win and a two-games-to-one edge in the weekend SEC series at Sewell-Thomas Stadium.
“We had multiple opportunities to get a big lead early and didn’t,” Alabama head coach Brad Bohannon said. “That was the story of the game. It came back to bite us.
“We had the bases loaded in the second inning and Sam (Praytor) hit the ball hard, but right at them. That’s baseball. But we had other chances where we did not take advantage.
“Then their guy (J.P.) France came out and did a great job out of the bullpen. “
Alabama third baseman Cobie Vance led off the bottom of the first inning with a double, then scored on a single by Joe Breaux to give the Crimson Tide a quick 1-0 lead.
UA added another run in the second inning as first baseman John Trousdale hit a leadoff double and scored on Vance’s two-out base hit. The Crimson Tide then pushed the lead to 3-0 on Keith Holcombe’s RBI single in the bottom of the fourth.
Mississippi State came back, cutting the lead to 3-2 on Elijah MacNamee’s two-run home run, his first homer of the year, in the fifth inning. The Bulldogs pulled ahead three runs in the sixth with the key hit being a two-out two-run double by third baseman Justin Foscue.
Holcombe added his second RBI single in the bottom of the sixth, cutting the MSU lead to 5-4. The Bulldogs answered in the top of the seventh with another two-out hit, a run-scoring double by Tanner Allen.
The Crimson Tide (24-25, 6-18 SEC) brought the tying run to the plate with one out in the bottom of the ninth as Holcombe reached on his fourth base hit of the game. But France, who worked four innings of shutout relief to earn the win, was able to retire the final two hitters and give Mississippi State (26-22, 11-13 SEC) the series win.
Kyle Cameron (1-2) was the losing pitcher.
Alabama will be back in action on Tuesday, hosting Jacksonville State in a non-conference game.
Reach Cecil Hurt at email@example.com or 205-722-0225.