Baseball continues skid against No. 20 LSU, losing fourth straight Friday night


CW / Davida Franklin

Alabama right fielder Andrew Pinckney (21) looks on from the basepath in the Crimson Tide’s 6-5 loss to the No. 20 LSU Tigers on April 6 at Sewell-Thomas Stadium in Tuscaloosa, Alabama.

Tzali Nislick, Contributing Writer

The Alabama Crimson Tide (25-21, 9-13) lost its fourth game in a row, dropping the series opener to the No. 20 LSU Tigers (31-14, 13-9) 6-5 at Sewell-Thomas Stadium. Friday marks the Crimson Tide’s fifth loss in their last seven SEC matchups, and Alabama has now lost nine of their last 11 games overall. 

And the schedule does not get any easier to end the season, with conference tournament action also approaching at the end of the month. The Crimson Tide still has two games against the Tigers this weekend, and series against No. 19 Auburn and No. 4 Arkansas coming up. 

Alabama head coach Brad Bohannon does not want to look too far ahead.

“We just gotta win tomorrow,” Alabama head coach Brad Bohannon said. “They’re all tough. When you get into league play, the quality of the game is just so much better. They’re all must-win, but we just gotta win tomorrow.”

The Crimson Tide got off to a good start, leading by two runs all through the first four innings. Garrett McMillan, who was scuffling entering Friday, had everything going for him before it all unraveled in the fifth inning. LSU hit two home runs and put up a five-spot in the fifth inning. Just one of McMillan’s five runs allowed was earned, however. In his last four starts, the Crimson Tide’s ace has a 4.70 ERA and 1.48 WHIP. Alabama is 1-3 in those games.

“You don’t expect the starter to shut them out, just to slow them down,” Bohannon said. “You look at his stat line, and you see five innings and five runs and think he didn’t pitch very well. But I think if we had defended better, he wouldn’t have gotten that five-spot in the fifth [inning], and it would have been a little bit different.”

The Crimson Tide battled back in the bottom of the fifth inning, scoring three runs and tying the game at five apiece. Right fielder Andrew Pinckney was the bulk of the offense for Alabama, going 2-for-4 with two RBIs. Pinckney continued what is now a torrid six-game stretch, hitting 12-for-25 (.480) over that span.

“He’s a different player than six weeks ago, and he just keeps getting better,” Bohannon said. “I’m really proud of him and he deserves a lot of recognition for the way that he’s contributing to our team right now.”

Pinckney has batted second in the order the last three games as a result of his late-season surge. After him though, the middle of Alabama’s lineup was quiet tonight – going just 2-for-13 between Drew Williamson, Dominic Tamez and William Hamiter. It was an uncharacteristic night for the trio, especially for Williamson and Tamez. The former hit .341 in 11 games entering tonight, while the latter hit .375 with three home runs and eight RBIs in seven games prior. 

LSU tacked on one more in the sixth inning, proving to be the difference. The Crimson Tide struggled to get anything going from there, getting shut out by the Tigers bullpen and striking out five times across five innings of work. 

“We just continue to find ways to lose,” Bohannon said. “LSU is a great team – a team that’s going to win a regional. Your margin for error is slim when you play teams like that, and we just continue to shoot ourselves in the foot.”

Alabama turns to right-hander Jacob McNairy for Game 2 as they look to even up the series on Saturday at 7:30 p.m. on the SEC Network.