TUSCALOOSA, Ala. (WALA) - Alabama scored two runs in the bottom of the eighth inning on a two-run single by Jared Reaves to knock off University of South Alabama baseball 4-3 Tuesday at Sewell-Thomas Stadium.
South Alabama (2-6) held a 3-2 lead heading into the bottom of the eighth after Brad Hook delivered a bases-loaded three-run double down the right-field line in the top of the seventh inning. The Jags loaded the bases in the inning off of UA reliever Trey Pilkington on singles by Hunt Griffith, Taylor Nichols and Drew Cofield before Hook gave USA its first lead of the game.
But Alabama (4-3) answered in the bottom of the eighth with the game's final two runs. Crimson Tide left fielder Hunter Gregory led off the frame with a walk, and Taylor Dugas reached on a hit by pitch. Following a sacrifice bunt by Kenny Roberts, Reaves hit Jaguar left-hander Kyle Bartsch's 2-1 pitch back up the middle to score both runners.
Bartsch (0-2) suffered the loss in two innings pitched, allowing two runs on three hits with one walk and a hit by pitch.
The game remained scoreless through 1 1/2 innings until Alabama scored the game's first run in the bottom of the second on a sacrifice fly to right field by Brett Booth that scored Austen Smith, who tripled ahead of Booth.
The Crimson Tide doubled its lead in the bottom of the fourth on an RBI double by Booth that scored Smith, who reached on a walk earlier in the inning.
USA right-hander Anthony Izzio then retired six of his final eight batters in the contest, and finished with just two runs allowed on four hits with four strikeouts and a walk in six innings pitched without factoring in the decision.
"I thought Anthony (Izzio) did a heck of a job for us," USA head coach Mark Calvi said. "He pitched six innings, and I thought we out-played them for seven. Izzio was outstanding against a tough lineup. He deserved a better fate, but unfortunately that's baseball. He is a grinder and a bulldog, and he is going to do little things right and keep us in ballgames. To beat him, you have to hit him. He's not going to give in, and he will give you his best each time out. We have a staff that will go out and give you their best effort, and tonight we fell a little bit short."
Alabama right-hander Spencer Turnbull tossed five shutout innings and allowed three hits with four strikeouts and four walks. Crimson Tide reliever Jake Hubbard (1-0) earned the win in 1 2/3 shutout innings, allowing two hits while striking out two. Ian Gardeck earned the save, and allowed one hit with one strikeout in one inning pitched.
Hook went 2-for-5 with a double and three RBI to lead the Jaguars at the plate. Griffith and Knapp added two hits apiece.
Reaves finished 2-for-4 with two RBI to lead Alabama offensively. Booth added a double and two RBI, and Smith had two hits and two runs scored.
"We left 11 men on base, and ultimately that hurt us tonight," Calvi said. "We out-hit Alabama, and I thought we out-pitched them until the end of the game. They left six runners on base, and we left 11. They made the most of their opportunities and we did not. I would like to give a lot of credit to Taylor Nichols. He went in there and played a good third base for us. Kevin Knapp at shortstop got a couple of hits and Hunt Griffith at second base – all three of them got some hits tonight. It's disappointing leaving those men on base and losing the game in the bottom of the eighth when you have a chance to put Alabama away.
South Alabama will return to action this weekend when it travels to Nacogdoches, Texas, for a three-game series with Stephen F. Austin.
For more information about South Alabama athletics, check back with www.usajaguars.com. Season tickets for all Jaguar athletic events can be purchased by calling (251) 461-1USA (1872).
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