TALLAHASSEE, Fl. (WCBI Sports/Alabama Athletics) – Alabama was six outs away from advancing to the Tallahassee regional championship game. The Crimson Tide led 8-4 in the bottom of the eighth.
Troy tied the game at 8 in the ninth and Alabama pitcher Ray Castillo walked in the game-winning run for the Trojans as Troy wins 9-8 Sunday.
The Crimson Tide’s season is over. Troy will play Florida State in the regional final.
“It was a tough one and a tough way to lose. I thought our guys competed really hard,” head coach Mitch Gaspard said. “This has been a season that we’ve been on the edge like that late in games, but we’ve been able to finish most of them off and today we weren’t. We allowed Troy too many opportunities and they did a good job to get some big hits there in the ninth inning. It doesn’t take away that our guys competed extremely hard and I think our young guys learned a lot from the tournament. We’ve just got to regroup and get better for next year.”
With the Tide leading 8-5 heading into the bottom of the ninth, Alabama (35-28) turned the ball over to closer Ray Castillo. Castillo (2-3) blew his third save of the season, allowing four runs on three walks, two hit batters and two hits in a third of an inning. The game-winning run came when Castillo walked Brandon Brown with bases loaded to push across Josh McDorman to end the game.
Jeremy McGowan threw the final 1.1 innings for the Trojans (42-19) to improve to 2-0 on the season.
Alabama collected 15 hits as eight of the nine starters had at least one hit in the game. Chance Vincent had a career-high three hits, going 3-for-4 with a run scored. Hitting leadoff for the first time in his career, Mikey White was 2-for-4 with an RBI and a run scored.
Seven seniors played their final games for the Tide, as Brett Booth and Andrew Miller finished their career with two hits in the game. Booth was 2-for-5 with two RBI and a run scored and Miller was 2-for-4 and scored twice. Kyle Overstreet was 2-for-5 and Austen Smith was 2-for-4 with a double, an RBI and a run scored.
Although the Trojans had eight hits in the game, they had 12 more base runners thanks to eight walks, three hits batters and an error by the Tide. McDorman was 2-for-3 with a double and three RBI and Logan Pierce was 2-for4 with two runs scored for Troy. Kyle Brown doubled in his only at-bat, as he drove in two in the four-run ninth inning. Matthew Howard and Brandon Brown also had two RBI in the game.
Alabama got on the scoreboard in the third inning when Georgie Salem’s sacrifice fly allowed Vincent to score. Vincent and White singled with one out to put runners on second and third for Salem.
The Trojans answered in the fourth inning, when a McDorman two-out single up the middle allowed Pierce to score from second. Pierce singled to open the inning and moved to second on a sacrifice bunt by Danny Collins.
The Tide answered in the next half inning when Miller scored on a groundout by White. White hit a two hopper to first, and after Trae Santos stepped on the bag, Miller beat the throw home to give the Tide a 2-1 lead. Miller singled with one out in the inning and moved up the third when Vincent singled for the second time in the game.
Bama extended its lead to 4-1 in the sixth, getting a pair of RBI singles by Overstreet and Ben Moore. Troy answered in the bottom of the sixth with three runs to tie the game at 4-4.Taylor Vaughn reached on an error and Pierce singled to start the inning. After Collins struck out, Santos walked to load the bases for McDorman, who doubled to deep center field to drive in two. Santos scored on a sacrifice fly to center field by Howard to tie the game at four.
UA answered in the top of the seventh with three runs, getting two on a double by Booth and another on a double by Smith. White started the inning with a single and moved to second on a sac bunt by Salem. After Kenny Roberts was intentionally walked, Booth ripped a double to the left field corner. Smith then traded places with Booth when he doubled to the wall in left center, giving the Tide a 7-4 lead.
After the Smith double, Troy went to the bullpen again, bringing in Nate Hill to face Overstreet. Overstreet singled to left field and Smith was cut down at the plate trying to score from second.
Troy loaded the bases with one out in the bottom of the eighth. Reliever Jay Shaw struck out Jakob Nixon for the second out, but Brown singled through the left side to drive in pinch runner Cass Abercrombie to make the score 8-5. Shaw then struck out Justin Hancock to end the inning.
Alabama went down in order in the top of the ninth inning, before the Trojans scored four times in the ninth inning to end the Bama season.