Alabama was hoping Friday night's game at the Hoover Met would give a boost to the team's resume as it hopes to impress the selection committee enough to host a regional during next week's NCAA Tournament. However, the Crimson Tide had a rough start to the night, falling behind by five runs before getting their own chance at the plate.
No. 8 Vanderbilt took down No. 24 Alabama, 9-2, eliminating the Crimson Tide from the SEC Tournament in front of a very pro-Alabama crowd Friday. The Commodores plated five runs in the first inning and their lead never dipped below three runs on the way to a victory. Vanderbilt moves into the semifinals of the tournament where it will face top-seeded Florida.
Alabama (40-19) did not get the start it was hoping for out of Jacob McNairy. Entering Friday night's game, McNairy had allowed just one run or less in seven of his last eight appearances but the Commodores came with the right scouting report and got on the scoreboard quickly. McNairy gave up a season-high eight runs in 4 1/3 innings on the mound. He walked four and allowed nine hits while striking out six.
Alabama's bullpen allowed just one hit over the final four innings, a solo home run in the ninth. Braylon Myers pitched 3 1/3 innings in relief, striking out two along the way.
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Colby Shelton had the only offense of the night for the Crimson Tide, hitting a two-run shot to center field in the third inning for his 22nd homer of the season.
Alabama finished with two runs on six hits. As a team, it left nine runners on base including leaving the bases loaded twice.
This is the third straight season Alabama has finished with a 2-2 record in the SEC Tournament, falling one win shy of the semifinals in all three seasons. The Crimson Tide hit the 40-win mark for the first time since 2010.
Alabama currently sits at No. 10 in the college baseball RPI rankings. The Crimson Tide is hoping that will be good enough to earn the right to host a regional in Tuscaloosa for the first time since 2006.
The NCAA Tournament selection show will be held at 11 a.m. Monday and can be seen on ESPN2.
The SEC Tournament continues in Hoover this weekend. Arkansas and Texas A&M play in one semifinal starting at noon Saturday with Florida and Vanderbilt squaring off after the first game ends. The winners will face each other in the championship game Sunday at 2 p.m.