Missouri baseball falls to Alabama after stellar start from Dylan Smith

Dylan Smith struck out 11 Tiger batters and the offense provided enough run support for the Crimson Tide to take game two.

In the top of the seventh inning, Missouri baseball’s senior left fielder Brandt Belk found himself on third base, with two outs and the Tigers down 3-1. Junior Designated Hitter Tre Morris stepped up to bat, but Belk decided to take matters into his own hands.

The senior pulled a Jackie Robinson as he took off for home plate, stole home and cut the lead in half at 3-2. Belk stood up and screamed in excitement.

The Tiger dugout roared back with thoughts of a potential comeback and upset over home team Alabama. Unfortunately for Missouri, the Crimson Tide didn’t budge.

Alabama retired the final seven batters in a row, shutting the door on any Tiger comeback by winning 5-2.

Crimson Tide junior Dylan Smith started the game and absolutely dealt. The right-hander struck out 11 Missouri batters through eight innings of work. Smith gave up two runs and six hits, throwing 111 pitches. Continuing his great season, Smith has yet to give up over four runs in any of his starts this season. After the offensive explosion of game one, both sides needed a calming start from each pitcher. Alabama got one, Missouri didn’t.

Senior Konnor Ash toted the rubber for the Tigers. In his first start of the season, Ash went only four innings, allowing six hits and three runs. He also struck out three batters and walked two.

The right-hander also threw a season high 76 pitches. Last year, Ash was the solid number two starter for Missouri. This season however, he started the year hurt and is still in the process of building stamina.

Coach Steve Bieser gave Ash the start in game two, moving usual starter, sophomore Spencer Miles, to a relief role.

Miles threw four innings, and gave up five hits and two runs. He was clean through his first three innings of work, before faltering in the eighth — giving Alabama a couple of insurance runs.

Belk led the Tigers offensively with two doubles and the steal of home. Junior catcher Mike Coletta added a couple singles, but Missouri only had a total of six hits for the afternoon.

For the Crimson Tide, junior Drew Williamson and senior Jackson Tate each had a three-hit game. However, the big knock of the game came off the bat of sophomore shortstop Jim Jarvis in the eighth inning. He ripped a triple that led to a two run lead for Alabama, basically clinching the game.

With Bieser’s shakeup in the rotation, all eyes will be on Sunday's lineup to find out who will start the third and final game of the series.

Freshman Zach Hise is the most likely candidate, as he has been the number three starter for most of the season. Another name to throw out is graduate student Lukas Veinbergs, who appeared in game one.

The Tigers are still fighting to secure the final SEC Baseball Tournament spot. Twelve teams qualify and Missouri is currently in that 12th spot.

The Sunday finale will be at 11 a.m in Tuscaloosa.

Edited by Kyle Pinnell | kpinnell@themaneater.com

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