Courtesy: University of Alabama Athletics

HOOVER, Ala. – The No. 9 Alabama baseball team fell, 4-1, to top-seeded Mississippi State on Wednesday evening at Hoover Metropolitan Stadium. With the loss the Crimson Tide sits at 32-25 on the season and 1-1 in the conference’s postseason tournament.

“I thought today that Zac Houston was terrific and did a great job,” said Alabama head coach Mitch Gaspard of the Mississippi State starter. “I thought Mississippi State played really well and defended extremely well. I thought they just outplayed us today.”

Mississippi State starter Zac Houston had the Crimson Tide’s number on Wednesday night, working 8,2 innings of one-run baseball. The junior allowed just four hits and did not walk a batter while striking out five. He was pulled in the bottom of the ninth after allowing a pair of hits as the Crimson Tide mounted a comeback.

Georgie Salem kept the game alive with a two-out double before Chandler Taylor sent another double off the wall to score Salem and make it a 4-1 game and force a State pitching change. The Bulldogs brought in Blake Smith, who recorded the final out for his fourth save of the year.

Mississippi struck first in the game, using three singles in the bottom of the first to make it a 1-0 game. The first two Bulldogs to the plate singled before a two-out single one batter later brought in the game’s first run. State would score one more in the third, starting with a leadoff single. The Bulldog runner then stole second, but an interference call moved him to third before a groundout to the right side crossed the leadoff man, making it 2-0 after three full.

The Bulldogs added one more run in the fourth thanks to a solo homer to lead off the inning, extending the lead to 3-0. State would improve its lead to 4-0 using a single, infield groundout and a passed ball to put a runner on third, before a two-out single widened the gap after six full innings.

Crimson Tide starter Geoffrey Bramblett worked 5.2 solid innings on the day, allowing four runs on nine hits and striking out four. The junior tossed 95 pitches and worked himself out of trouble with a pair of double plays to limit the damage, but Alabama’s offense was unable to provide any early support.

Bramblett was followed by Sam Finnerty, with the freshman reliever working the final 2.1 innings. Finnerty kept the Bulldogs off the board, allowing three hits and issuing one walk in his first career postseason outing.

Alabama will now face elimination, squaring off with the loser of tonight’s Florida-LSU game. The two teams will meet in the second matchup of the morning session on Thursday. The Crimson Tide will look to sophomore right-hander Jake Walters while the opposing starter is still to be determined.


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