Alabama baseball had the pitching performance against Vanderbilt that it had been searching for on Friday and Saturday and Sunday. But the Crimson Tide’s offense never arrived in a 2-0 loss to No. 5 Vanderbilt.
The Commodores finished off a sweep and handed Alabama its seventh straight SEC loss. The Crimson Tide and Kentucky are now tied for last place in the SEC.
“Thought we pitched it really, really well against a great offensive club,” coach Brad Bohannon said. “Just couldn’t quite scratch enough offensively.”
Senior Jeremy Randolph started his first game after serving as the Crimson Tide’s closer for most of the season. His lone mistake was a solo home run surrendered to Vanderbilt’s JJ Bleday in the top of the third, but that was all Vanderbilt would need. The Commodores scored a second run later that inning off reliever Casey Cobb, who pitched one inning in relief of Randolph.
Randolph gave up three hits and struck out three in 2 2/3 innings. Lefty Brock Guffey pitched a scoreless inning and righty Chase Lee retired four batters in order. Junior righty Deacon Medders pitched the final three innings and kept Vanderbilt from extending its lead. He surrendered one hit.
Alabama pitchers recorded 14 strikeouts, tied for the most of the season against an SEC team.
“I thought everybody that pitched today was just outstanding,” Bohannon said. “… Brock Guffey came in with the bases loaded and got a huge out against Bleday. Chase Lee was outstanding and Deacon had one of his best outings of the year. Casey Cobb did a good job bridging.”
Medders’ three innings was one of his longest outings of the season and came two days after he recorded five outs on Friday. He was the only Alabama pitcher on the weekend to throw at least two innings against Vanderbilt and not allow a run.
“I had a good fastball today,” Medders said. “It’s no secret, when I come in I throw breaking balls most of the time. Today I had a really good fastball and was able to locate it to both sides of the plate. I used a couple pitches, changeup and slider, that I haven’t used much this year and they were all there today. It helped me out.”
Alabama’s best chance to score came in the seventh, when catcher Brett Auerbach worked a leadoff walk and shortstop Kolby Robinson was hit by a pitch with one out. A strikeout and liner to center field ended that threat.
The only other time Alabama had two men on base was the first inning. Vanderbilt starter Patrick Raby gave up two hits and four walks in six innings; the two relievers behind him allowed one hit and no walks.
Bleday finished the weekend with four homers during the sweep. He was 5-14 with two walks, four home runs and 6 RBIs on the weekend. He’s now tied for the national lead with 20 home runs on the season and the leading candidate for SEC player of the year.
“He’s pretty special, will be a high draft pick, well deserved and he’s going to get to play baseball for a long time,” Bohannon said. “He’s a really physical kid that should not be swinging a metal bat in a small ballpark.”
Reach Ben Jones at firstname.lastname@example.org or 205-722-0196.