Alabama slugger Will Haynie belted the first pitch of the bottom of the seventh inning well beyond the left-field wall Thursday for the go-ahead home run against Missouri in a Southeastern Conference baseball tournament elimination game in Hoover, Ala.
Haynie’s blast turned out to be the game-deciding run as the Tigers blew a late-inning lead for the second consecutive day and lost 4-3.
The 11th-seeded Crimson Tide, 32-27, touched freshman Tanner Houck for a run in the first inning, but the seventh-seeded Tigers, 30-28, took the lead on senior Brett Peel’s two-run double in the fifth.
Freshman Trey Harris’ RBI single an inning later made it 3-1, but the lead was not safe.
Houck and Missouri, which blew a four-run lead Wednesday against Vanderbilt in the tourney’s second round, retired the first two Alabama batters in the sixth. Next came a walk and consecutive grounders to shortstop Ryan Howard, whose throw to first on sophomore Casey Hughston’s chopper was late and whose throw to third on junior Kyle Overstreet’s grounder pulled junior third baseman John Lester off the bag.
Freshman Cody Henry then tied the game with a two-run single to center before Haynie powered the Tide into the next round and perhaps ended the Tigers’ season.
Houck went the distance for Missouri, striking out eight but allowing four runs on six hits and a walk in eight innings.
The Tigers went 1-2 in the SEC tourney after entering play squarely on the bubble for the NCAA Tournament. That field will be set Monday morning.
▪ Athletic director Mack Rhoades hasn’t decided whether baseball coach Tim Jamieson, whose contract expires June 30, will return for the 2016 season.
“Coach (Jamieson) and I have talked about it,” Rhoades said Wednesday after a meet-and-greet at Westport Flea Market. “We know it’s a tough situation, a unique situation maybe. He understands and knows that we’ll visit whenever the season’s over. Hopefully, that’s not for a few more weeks.”
Jamieson has been the Tigers’ coach for 21 seasons, but the program has had a rocky adjustment to the Southeastern Conference, going 16-44 during the first two seasons before improving to 15-15 this spring.