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NCAA Baseball Tournament: Alabama 3, Savannah State 2 -- Tide Saved by the Bunt

Small ball has its place, but not to the extent that college coaches use it. And that overuse kept Alabama alive in the Tallahassee Regional

Mike Ehrmann

In the ongoing war between sabermetricians and baseball traditionalists, I consider myself a moderate. I think there are flaws in both ways of looking at baseball, and that there are limited instances in which traditional strategy has its place. But, when it comes to the bunt in college baseball, I have to agree with the sabermetricians who say it is vastly overused.

Which brings us to the eighth inning of Alabama's game against Savannah State. The Tigers were down 3-2, having just scored two runs to put the Tide on the ropes. Parker Nix stepped to the plate with one out and a runner on third. And despite the fact that Alabama had drawn the infield in to prepare for just such a situation, Savannah State called a bunt, which turned into an easy toss to home plate to cut down the potential tying run.

There was absolutely no reason to bunt in that situation. And while the SEC will take a win in any way it can get one after yesterday's disastrous 4-5 showing, and Alabama needed a victory just to stay alive in the SEC tournament, overbunting is a fever that grips SEC coaches perhaps as much as any other league in the nation. As Alligator Army put it:

Alabama still needs a win against the loser of today's Florida State-Troy game, and then two wins against the winner of that game. But that's a better than being out of the tournament and headed home. And the Tide is in that situation because the bunt helped them win the game. It was just the other team's bunt.