Facing a three-run deficit in the top of the seventh, Alabama softball plated a run with two outs and put the tying run on base but the late rally ultimately fell short as the Crimson Tide fell to Auburn, 3-1, to even the weekend series.

Alabama (19-6, 1-1 SEC) was held to just one hit over the first five innings before tallying three in the remaining two innings, including an RBI single from sophomore Elissa Brown in the seventh. Auburn (26-6, 1-4 SEC) scored three runs on five hits, earning its first Southeastern Conference victory of the season. Freshman Madison Preston (6-2) took the loss for Alabama, pitching 3.1 innings while junior Courtney Gettins pitched 2.2 relief innings behind her, getting the Tide out of bases-loaded jams in back-to-back innings.

Alabama stranded a runner on base in the top of the first inning and Auburn drew a two-out walk in the bottom half before a great throw from junior Reagan Dykes down to senior Sydney Booker covering second caught the runner stealing to end the inning. The Tigers drew a one-out walk in the bottom of the second and Kendall Veach followed with a double off the wall in left field, scoring the runner to give Auburn the 1-0 lead. Preston and the Tide defense limited the damage with a strikeout and groundout to keep Veach stranded at second and end the inning with a one-run deficit.

Auburn’s Morgan Podany led off the bottom of the third with a walk and successfully stole second on the third strike of the next at-bat. A groundout moved her to third base with two out and a wild pitch brought her home to increase the Tigers’ lead to 2-0.

In the bottom of the fourth, a leadoff single and hit-by-pitch put two on base for Auburn and a sacrifice bunt moved them into scoring position, now with one out. A walk loaded the bases and that ended Preston’s outing in the circle as Gettins entered in relief. She struck out the first batter she faced and senior Demi Turner ended the inning with a diving play to corral a grounder, tagging the runner out between first and second to get Alabama out of the bases-loaded jam with Auburn still in front 2-0.

In the bottom of the fifth, Tannon Snow led off the inning with a double in the gap. Casey McCracken drew a walk in the next at-bat but the fourth ball was a wild pitch, allowing Snow to move up to third and McCracken to advance to second. A strikeout and groundout quickly put two outs on the board before the Tide intentionally walked Kendall Veach to load the bases. A bases-loaded walk increased the Tigers’ lead to 3-0 before a strikeout ended the frame, stranding the bases loaded for the second-consecutive inning.

With one out in the top of the sixth, freshman Kaylee Tow reached base safely on a fielding error and sophomore Bailey Hemphill followed with a single up the middle as Tow advanced to second before being lifted for senior Rachel Bobo as a pinch-runner. A popup and force out at third base would end the inning, as the Tide was unable to cut into the Tigers’ 3-0 lead.

Auburn couldn’t add to its three-run lead in the bottom of the sixth. Pinch-hitting to lead off the top of the seventh, junior Merris Schroder poked a single up the middle. Back-to-back strikeouts brought Alabama down to its final out, but Schroder advanced to second on a wild pitch at the end of the second at-bat. A fielding error extended the inning, putting runners at the corners and Brown plated the Tide’s first run of the day with an RBI single through the left side, making the score 3-1. A called strikeout ended the rally and the game as Auburn won to even the series at 1-1.

The series rubber match is set for a 1 p.m. CT start Sunday, March 18, having been moved up from its original 5 p.m. start time due the threat of inclement weather later in the afternoon. The game will stream live on WatchESPN.com and will air as a tape-delay broadcast on the SEC Network in its original 5 p.m. CT time slot.

For the latest information on the team, follow @AlabamaSB on Twitter, BamaSB on Instagram and Alabama Softball on Facebook. General athletic news can also be found at UA_Athletics on Twitter and Instagram and AlabamaAthletics on Facebook.

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