May 24, 2013
HOOVER, Ala. – The Alabama baseball team suffered a heartbreaking 3-2 loss to the No. 2 ranked LSU Tigers in an elimination game in the SEC Tournament on Friday afternoon from the Hoover Met. The Tigers scored a pair of two out runs in the top of the ninth inning to end the Crimson Tide’s run in the post-season tournament.
Alabama got a great pitching performance from walk-on freshman Mike Oczypok, who threw a career-high 8.2 innings. Oczypok (4-2) was going for the complete game and left a 3-2 pitch up and over the plate to Tyler Moore, who doubled to the game in right center to score Jared Foster from first base, tying the game at 2-2. Alabama made a pitching change and reliever Jay Shaw allowed an RBI single to Ty Ross for the game-winning run, as Oczypok suffered his second loss of the season.
“It’s a really tough one on our end and Mike (Oczypok) was just tremendous today.” Alabama head coach Mitch Gaspard said. “It was a well-played game and I give LSU credit there in the ninth inning. Mike did his job and put one in the strike zone and (Tyler) Moore and (Ty) Ross got big hits for them. I thought both teams played extremely well. Offensively we did a nice job, but hit a lot of balls hard at them. It was one of those games that didn’t line up for us, but I was real pleased with the effort of our team throughout the game.”
Over his 8.2 innings, Oczypok allowed three runs on 10 hits with a walk and five strikeouts. LSU got the leadoff man on in six of the nine innings, which included a single by Mason Katz in the ninth. After Katz was erased on the Tide’s fourth double play of the game, Christian Ibarra singled with two outs to extend the inning. Foster pinch-ran for Ibarra and scored the game-tying run on the Moore double.
With the four double plays in the game, Alabama has 76 for the season and passed Towson University for the most double plays turned in the nation this season. The game marked the third time this season the Tide turned four double plays. The school record for double plays in a season is 81, when the 1997 team played 70 games.
Mikey White had another multi-hit game, going 2-for-4 with a triple, a RBI and a run scored. The multi-hit game was the 19th of the season for the freshman shortstop. White had two of the four hits in the game for the Tide, as Kenny Roberts and Brett Booth had one hit each. Booth had a single in the fifth to score White for as Alabama took a 2-1 lead in the game.
Katz was 3-for-4 to lead the Tigers, while Sean McMullen, Mark Laird and Ross all had two hits each. Moore finished the day 1-for-3 with an RBI and he scored twice.
LSU starter Ryan Eades did not factor into the decision after throwing 7.0 innings, allowing two runs on four hits with a walk and four strikeouts. Reliever Nate Fury (2-1) threw a scoreless eighth inning to get the win and closer Chris Cotton retired all three batters he faced in the ninth to pick up save 14 of the year.
In both the first and second innings, LSU got leadoff singles but the Tide turned double plays in both innings. The Tigers got a leadoff walk in the third, and after a sac bunt by Andrew Stevenson moved Tyler Moore into scoring position with two outs, Sean McMullen doubled to the left field gap to drive in Stevenson and give the Tigers a 1-0 lead.
The Tide answered in the fifth inning scoring a pair of runs on two hits and a walk. After Ben Moore walked to lead off the inning, White followed with his first triple of the season to drive him in and tie the game at 1-1. Alabama took the lead when Brett Booth singled up the middle to drive in White for a 2-1 lead.
Alabama held the 2-1 advantage until the ninth inning, when LSU got an RBI double by Moore and an RBI single to pull out a 3-2 come from behind win over the Tide.
The Crimson Tide will now wait to see if they are one of the 64 teams to be selected to the 2013 NCAA Baseball Tournament. The field of 64 will be announced on Monday, May 27 at 11 a.m. CT on ESPNU. The 16 host sites will be announced on Sunday, May 26 at 8 p.m. CT on at www.ncaa.com/CWS.
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