FINAL: Alabama 5, MSU 4 (again)

The buzz: My, what a tough day for MSU (24-18, 7-13 SEC), which lost both ends of a doubleheader. And my, what a postgame rant by John Cohen. Not a rant against people, but against the forces of the baseball universe. By my count, MSU had five line-drive outs today, three of which came with runners in scoring position – stuff like that is what drove Cohen crazy. Alabama (28-18, 10-10) came through late again, with a pair of RBI singles in the eighth making the difference.

Big inning: The eighth, of course. Luis Pollorena (5-3) entered with a runner on base and hit the first batter he faced, then yielded a two-out single to Brock Bennett, which tied the game at 4-4. Jared Reaves immediately followed that with an RBI hit for the winning margin.

Key stats: MSU stranded 13 runners, Alabama 12. MSU was 2 of 11 with runners in scoring position. State committed three errors.

MSU at the plate: The Bulldogs got nine hits, and well, you just saw the numbers. But Cohen wasn’t concerned with how his guys swung the bat, he was simply frustrated that nothing seemed to fall for them. Cody Freeman and Nick Vickerson had two hits apiece, with Vickerson smashing his third home run of the year to tie it 2-2 in the sixth. He also had an RBI double.

Alabama at the plate: The Tide got three hits from Bennett and had 10 total. It also took advantage of mistakes. When Brett Booth stroked an RBI single in the fourth, he reached third when a throw to second bounced and hit shortstop Jonathan Ogden in the nose. Booth then scored on a wild pitch for a 2-1 Bama lead.

MSU on the mound: Starter Nick Routt went 4.1 innings, allowing two runs (one earned) on five hits, striking out six and walking one. He gave way to Devin Jones (2.0 innings, one run), then Taylor Stark (1.1 innings, one run), Pollorena (faced two batters and got no outs, he took the loss), Caleb Reed (0.1 innings, no runs) and Chad Girodo (1.0 inning, no runs).

Alabama on the mound: He didn’t get the decision, but starter Adam Morgan was solid, allowing three runs on five hits, fanning four and walkilng four in 6.0 innings. Three relievers allowed just one run on four hits, and Jonathan Smart – the Game 1 winner – picked up his eighth save.

Bottom line: The Bulldogs have to somehow put this behind them and salvage a game Sunday. Another loss drops them into a tie for last in the West with LSU. A win, though, keeps them well within reach of an SEC Tournament berth.

Injuries: Cohen thinks Ogden’s nose is broken. Tough break for a kid who had to get a cortisone shot earlier in the week just so he could play with a pulled ab muscle. Jaron Shepherd, who homered twice in the opener, sat out the second game after getting hit on the toe by a pitch.

Quotable: Oh, you’re gonna have to wait. I will post Cohen’s entire rant in just a bit.

Up next: Game 3 is 1:30 p.m. Sunday, and sophomore right-hander Kendall Graveman (4-0, 3.13) will probably start for MSU.

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