Update: Slow start dooms Alabama against LSU in SEC baseball tournament

May 22, 2013 

Anniston Star

HOOVER, Ala. -- Alabama had one rugged inning against LSU in Wednesday's SEC tournament action, but one bad inning was enough against the nation's second-ranked team.

LSU scored all of its runs in the first inning off of Alabama starter Charley Sullivan and sent the Crimson Tide to the losers' bracket 3-0 at the Hoover Met.

Seventh-seeded Alabama (33-25) will play No. 6 seed Ole Miss in Thursday's 10:30 a.m. elimination game. Ole Miss lost 2-1 to Arkansas in 10 innings earlier Wednesday.

LSU (49-8), the tournament's No. 2 seed, will play No. 3 seed Arkansas at 4:30 p.m. on Thursday.

Alabama, which entered the SEC tourney at No. 28 in the Boyd's World pseudo RPI, is trying to make the best showing possible in Hoover, hoping to improve its seeding in the NCAA tournament. The field will be announced Monday.

"They did more to win the game and to beat us today," Alabama coach Mitch Gaspard said. "We'll regroup and come back ready for tomorrow."

LSU took its 3-0 lead on its first at bat. Sean McMullen lead off with a single and reached third base on an error then scored on Mark Laird's sacrifice grounder. LSU also scored on Raph Rhymes' grounder and Christian Ibarra's single, after Alex Bregman doubled and Mason Katz walked.

Two Alabama miscues helped the LSU rally. Rhymes' chopper between home plate and the mound drew Alabama catcher Brett Booth from behind the plate, and Bregman took advantage, rounding third and charging home to an undefended plate.

"It was just a little miscommunication between me and Brett," Sullivan said. "I think we both called it at the same time, and he just got to it first. We weren't thinking about him (Bregman) coming all the way home, but he's an aggressive base runner.

"We got the out at first, and then me and Booth were both kind of standing there, not covering home plate."

Tide left-fielder Andrew Miller misplayed McMullen's single down the line. It rolled to the fence, allowing McMullen to reach third base.

"Obviously, we were sloppy there, and they put some good swings on us, too, right there," Gaspard said.

LSU starter Cody Glenn (7-2) got the win, allowing five hits and no walks with two strikeouts in seven innings before giving way to Nick Rumbelow.

"Tip your hat to LSU and, particularly, Cody Glenn today," Gaspard said. "I thought he was outstanding. He changed speeds and moved the ball around, and we couldn't get any real good swings off.

"When we did have a couple of opportunities, we hit a couple of balls at them, and they played clean."

Chris Cotton worked a perfect ninth inning for his 13th save.

"It was a well-played game, I thought, by both teams, and it was a well-pitched game by both teams," LSU coach Paul Mainieri said. "I tip my hat to Charley Sullivan.

"We had a nice first inning against him, and it looked we could have a big day. He regrouped and pitched like the great competitor that he really is. I have a lot of respect for him."

Sullivan (5-6) settled down after the first inning and finished the game, allowing eight hits and walking two batters with three strikeouts over eight innings.

"It's one of those outings that may help you later in the tournament," Gaspard said. "He was able to go the distance and save the bullpen."

Gaspard said he will start Spencer Turnbull on Thursday against Ole Miss.

"We'll figure it out after that," Gaspard said. "Obviously, we've got to win tomorrow to stay in.

"I think the key for us right now is we want to let the weekend guys throw. It's Spencer's turn."

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