TUSCALOOSA, Ala. – Visiting ULM jumped out to an early three run lead at Alabama in the teams’ series opener, but the Warhawks were held without a hit over the final six innings as Alabama came from behind and used a walkoff single in the bottom of the ninth to hand ULM a 4-3 loss Friday night.
FINAL SCORE: Alabama 4, ULM 3
LOCATION: Sewell-Thomas Stadium / Tuscaloosa, Ala.
RECORDS: ULM (4-6, 0-0 SBC)
Alabama (4-5, 0-0 SEC)
-With ULM leading 3-0 after two innings, the Warhawks were held to just two more baserunners in the game – a single in the third inning that was erased on a double play, and a leadoff walk that was left stranded in the fifth frame. After Alabama starter Nick Eicholtz settled down and held ULM at bay until the fifth, reliever Brock Love came on and pitched 4 1/3 perfect innings for the hosts while striking out 10 of the 13 batters he faced.
HOW IT HAPPENED
-ULM opened the scoring in the top of the first inning when Nate Reynolds led off the ballgame with a single before later scoring on Turner Francis’ RBI base hit. The Warhawks then posted a two-run second inning on Blake Buckman’s two-run double into left center field to take the three-run advantage.
-Alabama would not score until the seventh, when a three-run inning tied the game up. The hosts used a single and back-to-back doubles to end the night of ULM starter Josh Leone before tying the game on a two out double later in the frame.
-The game remained deadlocked at 3-3 until the bottom of the ninth, when Alabama opened the inning with a leadoff single, bunted the runner over and then saw Hunter Alexander single back up the middle to give the hosts the walkoff win.
-Francis had two of ULM’s six hits, with Reynolds, Buckman, Anthony Herrera and Cade Harper each notching one hit.
-Alabama finished with eight total hits, including six combined in the seventh and ninth innings, in the comeback.
-Leone did not factor in the decision, now his third start of his season in which that has been the case, despite tossing 6 1/3 innings and allowing just five hits and the three runs with five strikeouts. He stranded two runners in the second inning and got out of a jam in the bottom of the sixth by inducing an inning-ending double play that kept the ULM lead at three at the time.
-Kyle Backofen (0-2) was saddled with the loss out of the bullpen for the Warhawks, allowing just two hits and what was the winning run in the ninth in his 1 2/3 innings of relief.
-The Warhawks continue the weekend series at Alabama on Saturday afternoon with a 2:00 p.m. first pitch followed by Sunday afternoon’s 1:00 p.m. series finale.