After putting together a complete performance in its win against No. 14 LSU on Friday night, Alabama struggled at the plate, in the field and on the mound in a 5-2 loss to the Tigers on Saturday afternoon at Sewell-Thomas Stadium.
“As pleased as I was with the way we played yesterday, I’m every bit as agitated, frustrated, disappointed, pissed at our guys for how we played today,” Alabama head coach Brad Bohannon said. “We didn’t pitch or defend or hit well enough to beat a team like LSU.”
Just like Friday night, Alabama (26-18, 5-15 SEC) threw the first punch. In the bottom of the first inning, leadoff hitter Keith Holcombe hit his fourth home run of the season to right field for an early 1-0 lead.
Unlike Friday night, the Crimson Tide couldn’t maintain its lead. LSU scored the tying run in the third, then pulled ahead for the first time in the series with a three-run homer in the fourth. It was ruled a foul ball, but was reserved after a lengthy review.
Bohannon pointed to the play as the deciding factor in the game.
“It’s a three-run swing,” Bohannon said. “I’d like to see it. They sent it back to Birmingham and the guys in Birmingham have been awesome this year so you kind of just have to trust that they made a good call … It was a big swing in momentum. Three runs, which ended up being the difference in the game.”
Alabama couldn’t come up with big hits when it needed them most. The Crimson Tide reached base 13 times and totaled 10 hits, but went a paltry 1-for-8 with runners in scoring position.
“Sometimes you’ve just got to get a hit,” Bohannon said. “We lost by three. Sometimes you’ve got to string some hits together. When you’re playing good teams and you get to the back half of the season, they’re not going to help you a lot.”
LSU’s Eric Walker earned the win with a career-high nine strikeouts in 5 2/3 innings of work. He consistently confused the Crimson Tide’s batters with his change-up.
“We got caught in between a lot today, meaning we were late to (Walker’s) fastball and early on his change-up, which is what he’s trying to get you to do,” Bohannon said.
Alabama starter Brock Lonve allowed five hits, four earned runs and walked three batters in 3 2/3 innings to take the loss. Garrett Rukes and Casey Cobb pitched in relief.
“The good thing is, we’ve got a lot of good pitching available for tomorrow’s game and it’s back to back days that we’ve gotten double digit hits, so I’m glad to see the bats come alive. We’ve got to pitch better, hit better and field better tomorrow if we want to win the series.”
Alabama will compete for its second SEC series win of the season in Sunday’s finale. First pitch is scheduled for 1 p.m. CT.