Alabama baseball eliminated from SEC Tournament, awaits NCAA regional fate
HOOVER — Alabama baseball's SEC Tournament finish mirrored that of last year's: two wins before two losses. Now the Crimson Tide must wait to see if it has done enough to make the NCAA Tournament like last year, too.
No. 11 seed Alabama (31-27) was eliminated from the conference tournament on Saturday with an 11-6 loss to No. 7 seed Florida (38-21) at the Hoover Metropolitan Stadium.
The Crimson Tide finish the SEC Tournament with wins over Georgia and Arkansas before loses to Texas A&M and the Gators.
Alabama has not made the conference tournament semifinals since 2010. The Crimson Tide will find out if this is a season-ending loss on Monday during the NCAA Tournament selection show.
ALABAMA BASEBALL:Alabama baseball vs. Florida in SEC Tournament: Live score updates
Power at the plate early
Early on, the game had the feel of a home run derby.
Batting leadoff for Florida, Wyatt Langford hit a solo home run. Then in the bottom of the first, Zane Denton hit a three-run home run. Langford smacked another solo home run to lead off the second, but Alabama responded again with a two-run home run from Drew Williamson in the third.
Denton's solo shot was the Crimson Tide's first home run of the tournament. The emergence of power from Alabama's bats was needed for it to keep pace with Florida's bats early.
Alabama misses out on solid opportunity in sixth
With Florida breaking the tie and gaining a 7-6 lead in the sixth, the Crimson Tide needed to respond.
At first, things looked bleak. Then, Alabama had a chance to at least tie the game and perhaps take a lead. Bryce Eblin hit a two-out double, then Caden Rose turned in a complete hustle play to beat out the throw to first. With runners on first and third, William Hamiter stepped to the plate but couldn't capitalize and Alabama exited the sixth without a run.
Offense's late disappearing act proves costly
Alabama finally scored a run after the fourth inning for the first time in the SEC Tournament on Friday, but the Crimson Tide returned to its early inning-only ways against Florida. On Saturday, Alabama didn't tally a run after the third inning.
The bullpen could only hold on so long, and the Gators blew the game open in the ninth. Florida scored four runs in the final inning, three of which were thanks to a three-run home run from Mac Guscette.
Nick Kelly covers Alabama football and men's basketball for The Tuscaloosa News, part of the USA TODAY Network. Reach him at email@example.com or follow him on Twitter: @_NickKelly