Ninth Inning Rally Falls Just Short in Loss to #12/14 Alabama
Courtesy / UT Athletics

Ninth Inning Rally Falls Just Short in Loss to #12/14 Alabama

TUSCALOOSA, Ala. – A ninth-inning rally fell just short as No. 5/5 Tennessee dropped a back-and-forth contest at No. 12/14 Alabama, 7-6, in Sunday’s series finale at Sewell-Thomas Stadium.

The Volunteers (18-3, 1-2 SEC) were able to manufacture a run in the top of the seventh inning to take a late 5-4 lead, but a three-run homer with two outs in the bottom of the eighth from Gage Miller proved to be the difference as the Crimson Tide held on for a series-clinching win to open SEC play.

The Vols scored four of their five runs in the third inning after loading the bases with no outs following a single and a pair of walks. After two quick outs, Dylan Dreiling came through with a clutch double to left-center field to clear the bases. The sophomore scored one batter later on an RBI double from Robin Villeneuve to spot UT a 4-1 lead.

Dreiling also drew a bases-loaded walk in the top of the ninth inning for his fourth RBI of the day to pull the Big Orange within a run.

Alabama (17-3, 2-1 SEC) responded with two runs in the bottom of the third to cut the deficit to one and tied the game with another run in the fourth to make it 4-4.

AJ Russell made his return to the mound after missing the last two weekends with soreness and looked good in a short starting stint, retiring the side in order in the second inning after giving up a run on a pair of hits in the first. The talented sophomore struck out two batters in his two innings of work, as well.

Sophomore righthander Nate Snead pitched 5.1 innings of relief was suffered his first loss of the season after giving up four runs on eight hits, including Miller’s go-ahead homer in the eighth inning.

Christian Moore posted his second straight multi-hit game with a pair of singles while Billy Amick led the team with three base knocks, including a double.

Braylon Myers tossed three scoreless innings out of the bullpen for the Crimson Tide while Matthew Heilberger earned the win after allowing one run on two hits in two innings of work. Aidan Moza recorded the final two outs in the ninth inning with two strikeouts to strand the bases loaded and earn his first save.  

UP NEXT: Tennessee returns to Knoxville to begin another lengthy homestand as they host Xavier on Tuesday evening at 6 p.m. to begin a stretch of eight consecutive games at Lindsey Nelson Stadium.

STATS OF THE GAME: A pair of impressive streaks came to an end in Sunday’s loss, as Kavares Tears did not record a hit for the first time since UT’s season-opening win over Texas Tech, ending his 18-game hitting streak.

The Vols’ home run streak also ended after failing to hit a long ball on Sunday, marking the first game this season they’ve been unable to do so.

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