BIRMINGHAM, Ala.—The Samford baseball team dropped a 5-4 decision to the Alabama Crimson Tide Tuesday evening at Joe Lee Griffin Field. The game was played in front of 1,664 fans, the eighth-largest crowd in stadium history.
Alabama plated four runs in the top of the third inning to take a 5-1 lead. The Bulldogs fought back to cut the lead to one run, but could not get over the hump as they eventually fell by a score of 5-4.
"We had one bad inning where we failed to execute, and when you give up a big inning, it's tough to win," Samford head coach Casey Dunn said. "They did a good job of capitalizing and creating a big inning."
Samford's Saxon Butler led the Bulldogs at the plate, hitting a solo home run, his eighth of the season, in a 1-for-3 performance. Brandon Miller and C.K. Irby had a double and an RBI each, both going 1-for-4 at the plate.
Gil Walker (1-2) pitched 3.0 innings, giving up five runs on six hits to take the loss on the mound for Samford. Kyle Putkonen, Michael Gunter, Sean Handlan, Tyler Vanderheiden and Joseph Burns also saw time on the mound in the loss for Samford.
For Alabama at the plate, Taylor Dugas went 2-for-4 and Hunter Gregory went 2-for-5. Austen Smith hit a two-run home run in a 1-for-4 performance. Ben Moore also drove in two runs, going 1-for-3.
Case Nixon (2-1) pitched 5.0 innings, allowing three runs on four hits to earn the win for Alabama. Trey Pilkington pitched the final 3.0 innings to pick up his first save of the season.
Alabama took an early lead with one run in the top of the first inning. Dugas walked to lead off the inning, and then moved to second base on a bunt single by Gregory. Dugas then moved to third base and Gregory to second on a sacrifice bunt by Jared Reaves. Moore then reached base on a Samford error, driving in Dugas for a 1-0 Alabama lead.
Samford came back to tie the score with a run in the bottom of the second inning. With one out in the inning, Brad Moss walked and then advanced to second base on a balk. Butler then walked. With two outs in the inning, Miller doubled down the left-field line to drive in Moss to tie the score at 1-1.
Alabama took the lead again with four runs in the top of the third inning. With one out in the inning, Dugas singled to left-center field. Dugas later scored from third base on a sacrifice fly by Reaves for a 2-1 Alabama lead. Moore then singled through the left side of the infield to drive in Gregory to make the score 3-1. Smith then hit a two-run homer to left field for a 5-1 Crimson Tide lead.
Samford answered with a run in the bottom of the third inning to cut the Alabama lead to 5-2. With two outs in the inning, Butler homered to left field to bring Samford to within three runs.
The Bulldogs added another run in the fifth inning to make the score 5-3. Christiaan Durdaller tripled to right field to lead off the inning. Austin Allison then hit a sacrifice fly to center field to drive in Durdaller.
Samford plated one final run in the bottom of the sixth inning to close to within one run at 5-4. With one out in the inning, Phillip Ervin walked and then stole second base. Ervin then advanced to third base on a ground out by Miller. Irby then doubled to center field to drive in Ervin for the game's final run.
With the loss, Samford drops to 25-16 on the season. Alabama improves to 17-25 with the win.
Prior to the game, new Samford head basketball coach Bennie Seltzer threw out the ceremonial first pitch. Seltzer was introduced as Samford's new head basketball coach at a press conference on April 5. Seltzer, a Birmingham native, comes to Samford after spending the last four seasons as an assistant coach at Indiana.