April 13, 2010
TUSCALOOSA, Ala – Alabama stranded a season-high 13 base runners, including bases loaded situations in the third and seventh innings, as the Crimson Tide fell to Samford 7-5 at Sewell-Thomas Stadium on Tuesday night.
Alabama (21-12) stranded at least one base runner in seven of the nine innings, including seven in scoring position.
“It’s like it Groundhog Day right now,” Alabama head coach Mitch Gaspard said. “Again, just so many missed opportunities throughout the game. We knew they had a good closer at the end and when you put the game down at the end like that, it can be difficult to win.
“We had missed opportunities up and down the field and I know we had the bases loaded twice. As a coaching staff, we are responsible to fix it and we will continue to work in every area to try and get this thing turned around. We have to keep battling and find some ways to win some games.”
Alabama left the bases loaded in the third when Samford relief pitcher Rumiko Forrester struck out junior second baseman Ross Wilson and senior third baseman Jake Smith to preserve a 2-1 lead for the Bulldogs.
Samford (21-10) scored single runs in the first and third inning to take the early lead against UA starter Brett Whitaker, who was charged with the loss.
The Bulldogs scored an unearned run in the first inning to take a 1-0 lead. Wayne Miller led off the game with an infield hit and moved to second on a throwing error by Whitaker on a pickoff attempt to first base. Miller then scored on Stephen Ballard’s base hit to center field.
Alabama got the run back in the bottom of the inning to tie the game at 1-1. Sophomore center fielder Taylor Dugas led off the inning with a single to center and moved to second when junior shortstop Josh Rutledge walked. Senior first baseman Clay Jones slapped a one-out single to right center field to score Dugas and even the game at 1-1.
Samford starter Michael Gunter avoided further damage when Wilson and Smith both struck out to end the inning, leaving two runners on base.
Gunter (2-0) then worked a scoreless second inning and picked up his second win of the season.
Samford regained the lead with a run in the third inning when Mason Meredith bounced a double down the left field line and scored on David Schulze’s RBI single.
Whitaker (1-2) took the loss for Alabama after he allowed two runs and four hits in three innings. Alabama and Samford used 13 pitchers in the game, including seven by the Crimson Tide.
Michael Johnson led off the fourth inning with a solo home run off Adam Scott to give Samford a 3-1 lead.
The Bulldogs scored three more runs in the sixth to take a 6-1 lead as Meredith plated two runs with a two-out single and Gary Cramer added another two-out RBI.
Alabama answered right back with three runs in the bottom of the inning to cut the deficit to 6-4. The Tide put the first three runners on base against relief pitcher Dayne Cutrell.
Smith and junior DH David Kindred reached on back-to-back singles and junior catcher Brock Bennett walked to load the bases with no outs. Freshman right fielder Andrew Miller singled to right against reliever Andrew Jones to score Smith and pull the Tide to within 6-2. Dugas’ sacrifice fly plated Kindred and sophomore left fielder Jon Kelton dropped a two-out single in between second baseman Michael Johnson and right fielder Trey Hayes to score Bennett and cut the lead to 6-4. Jones struck out to end the inning, leaving runners on the corners.
Alabama closed the margin to 6-5 in the seventh inning thanks to a leadoff walk and Samford error, but left the bases loaded when freshman closer Lex Rutledge got Josh Rutledge on a soft pop up to first base to end the Tide’s last scoring threat.
Wilson opened the seventh with a leadoff walk and advanced to second when Bennett reached on Meredith’s throwing error at shortstop. Miller followed with an infield single that was knocked down by Meredith to save a run.
Lex Rutledge, who has had a hand in 10 of Samford’s 21 wins this season, came in from the bullpen and walked Dugas to force home Wilson as the Tide closed the game to 6-5. Josh Rutledge popped up to end the inning.
Samford added a run in the eighth inning when Miller drew a leadoff walk and later scored on Meredith’s base hit to right field. Meredith had three hits and three RBI to lead Samford’s 14-hit attack. Miller and Schulze also had three hits for the Bulldogs.
Rutledge struck out five of the last seven hitters in the eighth and ninth innings for his seventh save of the season.
Kelton had three hits to pace the Tide’s 12-hit attack. Dugas, Kindred and Miller had two hits each.
Alabama is back on the road Wednesday, April 14, when the Crimson Tide travels to No. 23 Southeastern Louisiana for a 7 p.m. (CDT) game at Pat Kenelly Diamond.
*Alabama (21-12) stranded a season-high 13 base runners in the loss to Samford. The previous high was 12 runners left on base in a 10-5 win over Auburn on April 2.
*Alabama recorded its 11th outfield assist of the season on Tuesday when freshman outfielder Andrew Miller threw out David Schulze at home plate to end the sixth inning. It was Miller’s second outfield assist of the year and the seventh time an outfielder has thrown a runner out at home.
*Sophomore center fielder Taylor Dugas, who is second nationally with a .572 on-base percentage, reached base three times in the loss to Samford. He had two hits, one walk, scored one run and collected two RBI. He leads Alabama with 36 runs scored and 36 walks this season.
*Sophomore left fielder Jon Kelton, who leads the nation with a .579 on-base percentage, went 3-for-5 with one RBI. He tied his career high with three hits on Tuesday.
*Junior DH David Kindred went 2-for-4 with one run scored against Samford. In five starts this season, Kindred is batting .471 (8-for-17) with three runs scored and four RBI.