Alabama falls in back-and-forth contest with UCF 8-7

Alabama dropped its first NCAA Regional matchup against UCF 8-7 Friday night. (UA Athletics)

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – Alabama baseball came up short, 8-7, against UCF in a back-and-forth contest at Dick Howser Stadium on the Florida State campus. Following the NCAA Regional opener, the Crimson Tide is now 33-23 on the season.

The two teams traded leads all evening with UCF gaining its first advantage with a two-run first. Alabama answered with three runs in the bottom of the first, all coming on a homer from Kade Snell. A two-run homer in the top of the second put the Knights back in front at 4-3, but a Justin Lebron solo shot in the third made it a 4-4 ballgame a third of the way through.

TJ McCants moved the Tide in front in the fourth with a solo shot of his own, but UCF countered for two in the fifth to retake the lead. A two-out RBI-single from Lebron in the seventh made it a 6-6 affair before the Knights broke the tie with a single tally in the eighth. Alabama returned the favor with one in the home half of the eighth but a two-out RBI-single in the ninth made it an 8-7 game, the eventual final.

The win went to UCF reliever Kris Sosnowski (1-0) while Alton Davis II (4-2) was tagged with the loss.

From Head Coach Rob Vaughn

“At the end of the day, we just couldn’t quite get a zero on the mound when we needed it. Offensively we competed really hard, had some good two-out hits and had some guys have really nice days at the plate. We fought hard. We played great defense. We just put too many guys on for free today, and credit to (UCF) for capitalizing on our mistakes.”

How It Happened

  • T1 | A pair of two-out walks followed by a bases-clearing double got the Knights on the board. (2-0, UCF)
  • B1 | Gage Miller led off with a single and was joined on the bases by Ian Petrutz, who was hit by a pitch. Two outs later, Kade Snell cleared the bases with a three-run homer. (3-2, Alabama)
  • T2 | The Knights regained the lead thanks to a two-run home run from Andrew Williamson. (4-3, UCF)
  • B3 | Justin Lebron tied things up with a solo homer to left. (4-4)
  • B4 | TJ McCants gave the Tide the lead with a no-doubter to right. (5-4, Alabama)
  • T5 | A leadoff walk followed by a double tied things up. One out later, another double plated the go-ahead run for the Knights. (6-5, UCF)
  • B7 | With two on and two down, Lebron singled to left to even things up. (6-6)
  • T8 | The Knights regained the lead thanks to a 6-3 groundout that scored a man from third. (7-6, UCF)
  • B8 | Snell led off with a walk and was replaced by pinch-runner Max Grant. A sac bunt and a tag play on a flyout put Grant at third before a single into no-man’s land in center off the bat of Will Hodo scored him. (7-7)
  • T9 | The Knights’ leadoff man reached by way of the walk and eventually came around to score on a two-out single to left-center. (8-7, UCF)

Postgame Notes

  • Alabama has homered in 39 games, including 28 with two-or-more homers.
  • Justin Lebron collected a season-high four hits. His previous best was three which he had on seven different occasions this season.
  • Lebron’s four-hit performance is the first by a Tide hitter since Gage Miller against Auburn on May 18.
  • William Hamiter’s hitting streak ended at 10 games. Over that stretch, the graduate batted .450 (18-40) with four doubles, a triple, two homers, 17 RBI, five runs scored, six walks and two hit-by-pitch.
  • Hamiter’s reached base streak also ended at 12 games.
  • Mac Guscette’s hitting streak ended at seven games. Over that stretch, the senior hit .360 (9-25) with three RBI, six runs scored, two walks and four hit-by-pitches.

Alabama will square off with fourth-seeded Stetson in an elimination game on Saturday. The Crimson Tide and Hatters are scheduled for an 11 a.m. CT first pitch with the game airing on ESPN+.