Feb. 17, 2012
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TUSCALOOSA, Ala. – The Alabama baseball team opened its 2012 season with a 5-2 loss to the Florida Atlantic Owls on Friday night at Sewell-Thomas Stadium. The Crimson Tide is 0-1, while Florida Atlantic improves to 1-0.
Alabama left-hander Taylor Guilbeau (0-1), who became the first true freshman to start a season-opener for the Tide since freshman were allowed to play Division-I baseball, allowed just one run on three hits, striking out four while walking two over five innings in his Crimson Tide debut.
“I was very pleased with the start we got from Taylor Guilbeau in his five innings,” UA head coach Mitch Gaspard said. “I was pleased with the way our guys threw the ball tonight. The sixth inning kind of got away from us. We made a big error there when we had a chance to get out of the inning. That led to what I believe were four unearned runs, and that was really the difference in the ballgame.”
Florida Atlantic scored four unearned runs in the sixth inning to open a 5-0 lead for starter and winning pitcher Ryan Garton (1-0). Garton allowed one run on three hits while striking out seven in six innings.
Junior catcher Brett Booth finished 2-for-4 on the night totaling two of UA’s five hits, while senior designated hitter Jon Kelton reached base in three of his four plate appearances, notching one of the Crimson Tide’s two runs on the evening.
“We had an opportunity or two early offensively, but I give a lot of credit to their starter, Ryan Garton,” Gaspard said. “I thought he did a tremendous job tonight with three pitches, and their bullpen came in and did a nice job as well.”
After two scoreless innings to open the game, the Tide threatened in the third, putting runners at the corner with one out, but were not able to score any runs. An inning later, Florida Atlantic got on the board courtesy of a bases-loaded sacrifice fly from third baseman Kyle Newton, scoring Mike Albaladejo, who opened the inning with a single. Following the FAU run, Guilbeau was able to work his way out of the bases-loaded jam to hold the Owls to just one run.
Two innings later FAU added four runs, all unearned, to push the advantage to 5-0, before Alabama was able to notch a pair of runs in the bottom of the seventh.
Austen Smith singled up the middle to get things going for the Tide. After a FAU pitching change, Kelton walked and Booth singled to load the bases. Ben Moore, pinch-hitting for Andrew Miller, grounded into a fielder’s choice to bring Smith across, plating Alabama’s first run of the year. The Tide added another run after a passed ball brought Kelton home from third to make the score 5-2 before the inning was over.
After a scoreless eighth inning the Tide threatened in the bottom of the ninth, putting a pair of runners on first and second with the tying run at the plate. However, Moore grounded into a fielder’s choice to end the game.
Alabama and Florida Atlantic will continue the three-game series with game two on Saturday beginning at 10 a.m. from Sewell-Thomas Stadium. Junior right-hander Charley Sullivan will toe the rubber for Alabama while FAU will counter with junior righty Jake Meiers.
Alabama and Florida Atlantic will continue the three-game series with game two on Saturday beginning at 10 a.m. from Sewell-Thomas Stadium.