Baseball Team's Rally Falls Short, 5-4



May 14, 2010

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TUSCALOOSA, Ala. – Alabama nearly rallied from a five-run deficit before falling 5-4 to No. 14 Mississippi in the Southeastern Conference series opener Friday night at Sewell-Thomas Stadium.

The Crimson Tide fell behind 5-0 in the third inning before scoring three runs in the seventh inning on senior catcher Cody Trotter’s two-out, two-run double to close the gap to 5-4. Mississippi got two shutout innings from freshman right hander Brett Huber, who notched his 10th save of the season.

"I thought it was (another) rough start," head coach Mitch Gaspard said. "That's kind of been the issue the past few weeks where we can't get going early and when you're going against a guy like (Drew) Pomeranz - although he gave us some opportunities with some walks - we couldn't deliver a big hit to get going.

“When they went to the bullpen we made a little run late. I thought (junior relief pitcher Jason) Townsend did a nice job for us to put up some zeroes, keep the game close and give us a chance but we just couldn't scratch in the last couple of innings there."

Alabama (29-21, 10-15 SEC) fell into a ninth-place tie with Kentucky in the overall SEC standings and is two games back of eighth-place Tennessee, who beat Auburn 9-3 on Friday. Mississippi (36-15, 16-9 SEC) moved back into a first-place tie with Arkansas in the SEC Western Division standings. Arkansas suffered a 3-2 home loss to South Carolina on Friday.

Trailing 5-1, Alabama scored three runs in the seventh inning to pull to within a run. Junior shortstop Josh Rutledge led off the inning with a double to left-center field and moved to third on senior first baseman Clay Jones’ one-out single to left. 

Senior third baseman Jake Smith followed with a sacrifice fly to center that scored Rutledge and pulled Alabama to within 5-2. The inning was kept alive when junior DH David Kindred reached on an error by Mississippi second baseman Alex Yarbrough. Trotter followed with a double down the right field line to score Jones and Kindred to make it 5-4. After the ball caromed off the right field fence, Trotter raced to third but was gunned down on a relay throw from shortstop Kevin Mort to end the inning.

Alabama freshman right fielder Andrew Miller reached on a Yarbrough error to lead off the eighth inning, before Huber retired the next six UA hitters to preserve the win.

Mississippi scored two runs in the first inning to take a 2-0 lead. Tim Ferguson knocked in the first run with a double down the left field line and Zach Miller plated the second run with a sacrifice fly.

The Rebels increased the lead to 5-0 in the fourth inning and knocked out UA starter Adam Morgan in the process. Matt Smith stroked a leadoff double and Ferguson slammed a 3-2 pitch over the left field wall to give Mississippi a 4-0 lead. 

Ferguson’s home run chased Morgan (5-4), who allowed four runs and six hits in two-plus innings. He struck out three and walked one. 

After Townsend relieved Morgan, the Rebels put four consecutive men on base but scored only one run when Yarbrough scored on Miles Hamblin’s sacrifice fly with the bases loaded to make it 5-0.

Pomeranz no-hit Alabama through four innings with seven strikeouts, but struggled with his control as he walked seven and hit one batter. He walked two batters in each of the first two innings before running into two-out trouble in the fourth. 

After two quick outs in the fourth, Pomeranz walked Trotter and then hit Miller to put two runners on base. Alabama junior left-fielder Jon Kelton walked on a 3-2 pitch to load the bases.

Sophomore center fielder Taylor Dugas drew a walk to chase home Trotter with the first run before Rutledge popped up to center field to leave the bases loaded.

Pomeranz (7-1) allowed a leadoff single to junior second baseman Ross Wilson in the fifth but retired the next three batters. He worked five innings and allowed one run and one hit with nine strikeouts and seven walks. He also hit one batter.

Townsend worked a season-high five innings in relief for Alabama. He allowed one run and four hits with five strikeouts and three walks. Junior right-hander Brett Whitaker worked a scoreless eighth and junior right hander Nathan Kilcrease retired all three batters he faced in the ninth.

Alabama and Mississippi will meet in game two of this three-game weekend series on Saturday, May 15, at 3:06 p.m. (CDT). The game will be nationally televised by ESPN2 with Eric Collins and Kyle Peterson calling the action. The Crimson Tide will send Jimmy Nelson (5-2, 4.59 ERA) to the hill while the Rebels will counter with Aaron Barrett (7-2, 3.14 ERA).

*Senior catcher Cody Trotter went 1-for-3 with a walk, a double and two RBI in Friday’s game. The Fulton, Miss., native is riding a five-game hitting streak and has four RBI in those five games.

*Sophomore center fielder Taylor Dugas drew a bases loaded walk in the fifth inning and has now reached base safely in 39 consecutive games dating back to March 13. Overall, he has reached base in 49 of 50 games this year.

*Junior right-hander Jason Townsend threw a season-high five innings in relief on Friday. His previous high was 4 2/3 innings at LSU on April 16. Against Mississippi, Townsend allowed one run and four hits with five strikeouts and three walks.

*Junior shortstop Josh Rutledge led off the Tide’s three-run seventh inning with a double and has now hit safely in 24 of 25 SEC games this season, including a 16-game conference hitting streak.