TALLAHASSEE, Fla. - The 2014 Alabama baseball season came to an end on Monday, with a 4-2 loss to the Kennesaw State Owls in the championship game of the NCAA Tallahassee Regional from Howser Stadium. Kennesaw State's Travis Bergen was named the Regional's most outstanding player, after earning the win for the Owls, after throwing 3.1 innings out of the bullpen.
With the Tide trailing 4-2 heading to the ninth inning, Alabama (37-24) got a walk by Ben Moore and a single by Wade Wass to put the tying runs on board with one out. The rally came to an end after Austen Smith popped out to first base and Kyle Overstreet was called out on a questionable third strike to end the game.
Bergen (9-4), who went 8.2 innings for the win against the Tide on Friday night, did now allow a run, while giving up one hit with a walk and two strikeouts. Justin McCalvin got the final two outs to record his 16th save of the year for the Owls (40-22).
Alabama relief pitcher Thomas Burrows (4-2) took the loss after allowing two runs on four hits with three walks and a strikeout in 3.1 innings. Jay Shaw made his first career start for the Tide and threw a season-high 4.2 innings, allowing two runs on three hits with three walks.
Alabama had six hits in the game and half came off the bat of Wass who was 3-for-5 with an RBI and a run scored. Georgie Salem, Kyle Overstreet and William Elliott also had singles, and Austen Smith had an RBI.
Kennesaw State had seven hits in the game, and Jacob Bruce was 2-for-3 with two double, an RBI and a run scored and Max Pentecost was had a double and an RBI. Chris McGowan was 1-for-4 with a run scored and Jeremy Howell came off the bench to go 1-for-1 with a run scored and an RBI.
The Owls got on the scoreboard first, scoring a run in the bottom of the second. The inning could have been worse after KSU loaded the bases with no outs. After getting the first out of the inning on a force out at home plate, Kal Simmons hit a fly ball to the warning track in right field to drive in Alex Liquori for the first run of the game.
Alabama had a golden opportunity in the top of the third after loading the bases with no outs after three walks by KSU starter Jordan Hillyer. The Owls made a pitching change and reliever James Connell struck out Wade Wass and got Austen Smith to pop out to keep the Tide off the scoreboard.
Bama got on the scoreboard in the fifth inning, scoring twice off Connell. After Salem singled to start the inning he moved to second on a groundout by Moore. Wass followed with a single to center field to drive in Salem, and advanced to second on a throwing error by KSU centerfielder Bo Way. After a balk by Connell put Wass a third, Smith had a sac fly to RF to put the Tide up 2-1.
The Owls answered with a run in the bottom of the inning to even the score at 2-2. After Cornell Nixon walked, the Tide turned a 5-4-2 double play on a sac bunt by Simmons to get the first two outs of the inning. Shaw would then give up back-to-back doubles to Jacob Bruce and Max Pentecost to even the score.
The Pentecost double ended the day for Jay Shaw, who threw a season-high 4.2 innings, allowing two runs on three hits with three walks.
Kennesaw State took the lead again in the seventh inning, when Bruce doubled again when he hit a 2-1 pitch off Thomas Burrows off the fence in right field, plating Jeremy Howell to make the score 3-2 Owls. KSU added an insurance run in the bottom of the eighth, when Howell had a two-out single to center field to plate Chris McGowan, giving the Owls a two-run cushion heading to the ninth.