It's do or die for both No. 10-seed Alabama baseball and No. 2-seed Tennessee at the 2021 SEC Tournament.
While the Crimson Tide has done a lot this tournament to increase its chances at a bid to an NCAA Regional, a loss today would mean a trip home to await an announcement in the regional selection show.
The Volunteers have all but officially locked up an NCAA Regional, but after a thrilling extra-innings loss to Alabama on Wednesday will no doubt be out for blood.
Drew Williamson, who was announced to be out for the tournament on Monday with a broken hamate bone, will be starting a first base for the Crimson Tide. Andrew Pinckney has been removed from the lineup, with Will Hamiter taking his place in right field.
Stay tuned here at BamaCentral for live updates, stats and analysis from Hoover Metropolitan Stadium as the Crimson Tide takes on the Volunteers (10 a.m. CT, SEC Network).
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Here are you starting lineups:
No. 10-seed Alabama Crimson Tide (31-23, 12-17)
1. Peyton Wilson - 2B
2. William Hamiter - RF
3. Sam Praytor - C
4. Zane Denton - 3B
5. Owen Diodati - DH
6. Jackson Tate - LF
7. Drew Williamson - 1B
8. Caden Rose - CF
9. Jim Jarvis - SS
Landon Green - P
No. 2-seed Tennessee Volunteers (43-15, 20-10)
1. Liam Spence - SS
2. Max Ferguson - 2B
3. Jake Rucker - 3B
4. Drew Gilbert - CF
5. Evan Russell - LF
6. Luc Lipcius - 1B
7. Jordan Beck - RF
8. Pete Derkay - DH
9. Connor Pavolony - C
Blade Tidwell - P
TOP of 1 - Tennessee batting
- Spence flew out to center field. One out.
- Ferguson flew out to center field. Two out.
- Rucker struck out swinging at a ball in the dirt, but the throw to first by Praytor resulted in an E2. Rucker advanced all the way to third. Two out, runner on third.
- Gilbert grounded out to first. Three out, runner left stranded on first. Side retired.
- MID 1 - Tennessee 0, Alabama 0
BOTTOM of 1 - Alabama batting
- Wilson grounded out to first. One out.
- Hamiter grounded out to first. Two out.
- Praytor lined out to third. Three out. Inning over.
- END 1 - Tennessee 0, Alabama 0
TOP of 2 - Tennessee batting
- Russell singled through the left side. Nobody out, runner on first.
- Lipcius hits a two-run home run over the fence in right field. 2-0 Tennessee, nobody out. That home run is Lipcius' 12th home run of the season.
- Beck struck out looking. One out. That is Green's first strikeout of the game.
- Derkay grounded out to short. Two out.
- Pavolony flew out to left field. Three out.
- MID 2 - Tennessee 2, Alabama 0
BOTTOM of 2 - Alabama batting
- Denton struck out looking. One out.
- Diodati grounded out to second. Two out.
- Tate struck out swinging. Three out. Inning over.
- END 2 - Tennessee 2, Alabama 0
TOP of 3 - Tennessee batting
- Spence is hit by the pitch. Runner on first, nobody out.
- Ferguson doubled to deep right center. Spence advanced all the way home. 3-0 Tennessee with nobody out and a runner on second.
- Connor Shamblin is warming up in the bullpen for Alabama.
- Rucker flew out to center field. Ferguson tagged up to third. One out, runner on third.
- Gilbert hits an infield single. Ferguson reaches home. 4-0 Tennessee with a runner on first, one out.
- Russell doubled down the left-field line. Gilbert advanced to third. One out, runners on first and second.
- Green's day is done. Now pitching for the Crimson Tide: Shamblin.
- Final line for Green: 2.1 IP, 5 H, 4 R, 0 BB, 2 K, 14 BF, 47 TP.
- Lipcius hit an infield single. Gilbert advanced home for another run. 5-0 Tennessee with one out and runners at the corners.
- Beck gets on first with an E4. Lipcius advanced to second, Russell scored. 6-0 Tennessee with runners on first and second and one out.
- Derkay singled to right. Lipcius reached home. 7-0 Tennessee with runners on first and second, still one out.
- Pavolony grounded out to short. Two out, runners on second and third.
- Spence grounded out to short. Three out, two runners left stranded. Side retired.
- MID 3 - Tennessee 7, Alabama 0
BOTTOM of 3 - Alabama batting
- For those of you keeping track at home, Alabama's biggest comeback of the season was a five-run deficit against Missouri.
- Williamson struck out swinging. One out.
- Rose popped up to second base. Two out.
- Jarvis draws a full-count walk, and Alabama has its first baserunner of the game. Runner on first with two out.
- Jarvis stole second.
- Wilson popped up in foul territory on the left side. Three out, one runner left stranded. Inning over.
- END 3 - Tennessee 7, Alabama 0
TOP of 4 - Tennessee batting
- Ferguson struck out swinging. One out.
- Rucker struck out swinging. Two out.
- Gilbert singled to right. Runner on first, two out.
- Russell absolutely crushed a ball over the second fence in left field past the flag pole. Two runs score. 9-0 Tennessee with two out, no runners on base.
- Lipcius struck out swinging. Three out. Side retired.
- MID 4 - Tennessee 9, Alabama 0
BOTTOM of 4 - Alabama batting
- Hamiter grounded out to second. He appeared to reach the base at the same time as the throw. Bohannon challenged the play, and the umpires are now reviewing. It he is called safe, Tidwell's no-hitter will be over.
- The play stands, and Hamiter is out at first. One out, nobody on base and Tidwell's no-hitter is still intact.
- Praytor singles to left. Runner on first with nobody out, and Tidwell's no-hitter is over.
- Denton grounds into a fielder's choice. Praytor is out at second, Denton reaches first. Two out, runner at first.
- Diodati popped up to second base. Three out, runner left on first. Inning over.
- END 4 - Tennessee 9, Alabama 0
TOP of 5 - Tennessee batting
- Beck struck out swinging. One out.
- Derkay grounded out to short. Two out.
- Pavolony struck out looking. Three out. Side retired.
- MID 5 - Tennessee 9, Alabama 0
BOTTOM of 5 - Alabama batting
- Tate drew a walk. Runner on first, nobody out.
- Williamson lined out to right field. One out, Tate retreats back to first.
- Rose flew out to shallow left field. Two out, Tate still on first.
- Tate stole second.
- Jarvis grounded out to first. Tate is left stranded. Three out. Inning over.
- END 5 - Tennessee 9, Alabama 0
TOP of 6 - Tennessee batting
- Spence hit a leadoff home run over the wall in left-center field. 10-0 Tennessee, nobody out. If the score remains through the bottom of the seventh, the Volunteers will win via mercy rule.
- Ferguson hits a home run over the right-field wall to make it back-to-back dingers. 11-0 Tennessee, nobody out.
- William Freeman is now warming up in the bullpen for Alabama.
- Rucker draws a full-count walk. Runner on first, nobody out.
- Freeman is now on the mound for Alabama, and Shamblin's outing reaches its conclusion.
- Final line for Shamblin: 2.2 IP, 6 H, 5 R, 1 BB, 5 K, 16 BF, 59 TP.
- Gilbert reached on a fielder's choice to second, Rucker out at second. One out.
- Russell reached on a fielder's choice to short, Gilbert out at second. Two out.
- Lipcius popped up to short. Three out, one runner left stranded. Side retired.
- MID 6 - Tennessee 11, Alabama 0
BOTTOM of 6 - Alabama batting
- Wilson grounded out to second. One out.
- T.J. Reeves is pinch-hitting for Hamiter.
- Reeves struck out swinging. Two out.
- Praytor singled down the right-field line. Runner on first, two out.
- Praytor stole second.
- Denton struck out swinging at a ball in the dirt, thrown out at first. Three out, Praytor left stranded. Inning over.
- END 6 - Tennessee 11, Alabama 0
TOP of 7 - Tennessee batting
- Christian Scott is pinch-hitting for Beck. Bryce Eblin now at shortstop for Alabama in place of Jarvis.
- Scott grounded out to second. One out.
- Booker flew out to left. Two out.
- Jackson Greer now pinch-hitting for Pavolony.
- Greer struck out swinging. Three out. Side retired.
- MID 7 - Tennessee 11, Alabama 0
BOTTOM of 7 - Alabama batting
- Scott now in right, Grier now catching for Tennessee. Tidwell's day is done on the mound, with the new pitcher being Kirby Connell.
- Final line for Tidwell: 6.0 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 2 BB, 5 K, 22 BF, 95 TP.
- Unless the Crimson Tide rallies and gets two or more runs this side, the game will automatically end due to mercy rule.
- Will Patota pinch-hitting for Diodati.
- Patota struck out looking. One out.
- Tate grounded out to first. Two out.
- Johnny Hawk in to pinch for Williamson.
- Hawk grounded out to third. Three out. Inning over.
- END 7 - Tennessee 11, Alabama 0
FINAL: Tennessee 11, Alabama 0
It's do-or-die time for Alabama baseball again at the 2021 SEC tournament.
After advancing past No. 23 South Carolina in the single elimination round on Tuesday and defeating No. 4 Tennessee on Wednesday, the Crimson Tide suffered its first loss of the event on Thursday against No. 13 Florida, 7-2, at the Hoover Met.
A rematch awaits Alabama in the first elimination game of the day on Friday morning (10 a.m, SEC Network) versus Tennessee, who run-ruled No. 8 Mississippi State in eight innings earlier on Thursday, 12-2.
The Crimson Tide's NCAA-tournament hopes are hanging in the balance. With a win, Alabama would firmly be in the 64-team field. A loss would put it back on the bubble.
Both teams have spilt the season series at two games a piece.
"We've played Tennessee four times, and I think there's been two extra-inning games, and I think the other two may be one-run games, 2-2 each way," Alabama coach Brad Bohannon said. "So we've had great battles with them. I have a lot of respect for their team, and we're excited to get another shot at them tomorrow."
How to Watch No. 10-seed Alabama vs No. 2-seed Tennessee
Where: Hoover Metropolitan Stadium, Hoover, Ala.
When: 10 a.m. CT on Friday, May 28
TV: SEC Network
Online: ESPN app
Last Time Out: Alabama suffered a 7-2 defeat at the hands of No. 13 Florida on Thursday afternoon. Junior right-hander Dylan Smith tossed seven innings and struck out six batters, while allowing four earned runs on nine hits. Second baseman Peyton Wilson and right-fielder Andrew Pinckney combined for five of the Crimson Tide's seven hits, while third baseman Zane Denton and left-fielder Jackson Tate both hit RBI singles in the ninth inning.
Alabama 2021 Review: The Crimson Tide finished the season with an overall record of 29-22, including a 12-17 record in the SEC. While pitching has been a struggle all season, the Crimson Tide bats have been fairly productive until recently. Third baseman Zane Denton has frequently been a contributor on offense, leading the team with a .317 batting average and totaling 63 hits with 36 runs and 38 RBIs. In terms of power, catcher Sam Praytor leads Alabama with 13 home runs as well as RBIs with 44 on the season. While the Crimson Tide will need to bring its A-game up and down the lineup, look for these two players to heavily contribute if Alabama is able to pull of a win against Tennessee.
Crimson Tide SEC Tournament History: Prior to the SEC Tournament's inception in 1977, Alabama baseball had the league's third-most SEC Championship Series victories with four in seven appearances. In tournament play since 1977, the Crimson Tide is tied for second-most tournament championships with seven and has the third-most appearances with 27. Alabama's most recent tournament championship was in 2003, its second of back-to-back titles. This year marks the team's return to the tournament after missing the field every year since 2016.