Picture by Austin Bigoney from The Crimson White

By Brandon Mraz

April 3, 2021. The Crimson Tide took on the number six ranked Tennessee Volunteers in Tuscaloosa on Friday. With Tyler Ras on the mound the Crimson Tide was looking for their second conference win and to jumpstart their series with Tennessee. 

Ras had a shaky outing, pitching five innings, giving up seven hits, and four runs. In the second inning Tennessee’s Luc Lipicius homered to give the Volunteers a one to nothing lead. Later in the third inning Tennessee strung together two doubles and one single to score another three runs to extend the lead to 4-0 Tennessee. 

The Crimson Tide refused to go away. In the fourth inning the bases were loaded for Drew Williamson who would be hit by a pitch to walk in a run to make the score 4-1. Jim Javis was up next and he would ground into a fielder’s choice and reach to score another but Williamson would be thrown out at second base. With runners on the corners the red hot Peyton Wilson would come to the plate and hit a single to score another and make the score 4-3. The Volunteers would get out of the fourth but they were not out of the woods yet. 

With the score 4-3 the game moved to the bottom of the fifth. Zane Denton would reach on a walk to bring up Sam Praytor. Praytor would square one up to right center field and he would hit it out to make the score 5-4 Alabama with the lead. Later in the inning Drew Williamson would hit a sacrifice fly to score William Hamiter and make the score 6-4. With the Crimson Tide cruising, we moved to the eighth inning where Drew Williamson would put the cap on the game with a moonshot to center field to make the score 7-4. Chase Lee would come in to get the save and the Crimson Tide would win 7-4.

The Crimson Tide did not give up in this game despite the deficit. This is much like the love of Crimson Tide super fan Luke Ratliff. Ratliff unfortunately passed away late Friday night tragically from COVID-19. Ratliff was a great friend to everyone he met but more well known for loving his school and the sports teams on this campus. You could often find Ratliff at any sporting event on campus. Luke was known for his diehard support for basketball but Luke was also a huge fan of the Crimson Tide baseball team. You could always find him sitting in his chair in right field with his favorite beverage enjoying the game and cheering his heart out. 

Luke was a presence on this campus that inspired many. His love for this university was contagious and his energy and kindness was unmatched. He spoke to everyone like a friend even if you had just met him. He was just happy to be a fan. This campus and these programs will miss the infamous Fluff, but we will know he is looking down on his teams and supporting them from a place above. We miss you Fluff. Rest easy. This one was for you.