Baseball’s late rally falls short, drops conference opener to Florida

Will Miller , Contributing Writer

Late-game heroics were not enough for Alabama baseball in the team’s SEC opener against No. 9 Florida. After surrendering four runs in the second frame and another in the seventh, the Tide fell to the Gators 6-4. 

Alabama didn’t score a run until the eighth inning.

Pitcher Garrett McMillan took the mound and struck out seven, but gave up five earned runs through five innings of work. He gave up two homers and as many walks. Neither walk resulted in a run. His season record is now 2-1. 

On the opposite side, Florida’s Hunter Barco was brilliant. Barco went eight innings, striking out 10, and throwing 106 pitches. His only run given up came on Andrew Pinckney’s leadoff home run during the eighth inning. Blake Purnell earned his first save of the campaign for the Gators.

The Crimson Tide offense rallied in the final frame, plating three runs and loading the bases for leadoff man Jim Jarvis. Owen Diodati had an RBI single which scored two runs after an error, and then Bryce Eblin batted in Will Hodo for the game’s final run. Jarvis hit into a double play to retire the inning and the game. 

The offense was spearheaded by Pinckney’s two hits, including the home run, and he reached in the final inning on a hit-by-pitch.

“Obviously a tough loss tonight,” head coach Brad Bohannon said. “Really proud of the fight we showed late. Barco is one of the best guys we’ll see this year. Florida did a good job, they threw the first punch tonight.”

Alabama has now dropped two straight games and is 12-7 for the season (0-1 SEC). Florida, with its top-ten ranking, moved to 14-4 (1-0 SEC). The teams will rematch on Saturday at 6pm C and on Sunday at 1pm CT.