Late Runs End Comeback Hopes for Alabama Baseball in 17-7 Loss at Auburn
Alabama baseball’s comeback hopes were ended late as Auburn came away with a 17-7 win on Sunday afternoon at Plainsman Park. The two teams split the season series at 2-2 with the Crimson Tide moving to 27-21 overall and 6-18 in Southeastern Conference play following Sunday’s contest.
“For the last six SEC games we’ve competed really well and put ourselves in great position to win, and I thought we competed again in today’s game,” said Alabama head coach Brad Bohannon. “The last two innings got away from us with the abnormal amount of soft contact and they got a couple of big hits. A lot of credit to Auburn for getting the big hits late and stretching the game out, but I think 24 of the 27 innings we played this weekend, we competed really well.”
The Crimson Tide and Tigers were knotted at 3-3 after three innings on Sunday. Auburn then scored one in the sixth and four in the seventh to deliver what appeared to be the crushing blow, but Alabama came back with three in the top of the eighth to make it an 8-6 contest headed to the bottom of the eighth. That half inning saw the Tigers score nine runs to put things out of reach. Alabama battled for one in the ninth but would come no closer in the 17-7 series finale.
Sunday’s game saw the two teams combine to use 12 pitchers. Auburn reliever Bailey Horn (2-0) picked up the win with 1.1 scoreless innings in the middle of the contest. The hard-luck loss went to Alabama reliever Brock Guffey (0-1). The sophomore lefty allowed the Tigers’ go-ahead run across his 2.1 frames.
The Alabama hitters put together another strong performance on Sunday to record 14 hits with seven of the nine starters tallying at least one hit. Junior Morgan McCullough led UA in hits with a 4-for-5 day that included a team-leading two runs scored along with a team-high tying two RBI. Right behind him was fellow junior Brett Auerbach who contributed a 3-for-5 afternoon with two RBI and a run scored. Sophomore Tyler Gentry and freshman Tyler Ras each registered two hits with Ras adding a run scored.
Alabama struck first on Sunday, using a solo home run from T.J. Reeves. It was the freshman’s eighth of the season and put the Tide ahead, 1-0. Auburn came back in the bottom of the second to post three runs and gain a 3-1 advantage through two, but the Tide evened things up with a pair in the next half inning. Auerbach got the third started with a one-out single. He then advanced to second on a wild pitch to put himself in scoring position. One out later, McCullough singled to center to bring in Auerbach and cut the lead down to one. A single from Gentry followed to move McCullough to second before a bloop single from freshman Drew Williamson crossed the tying run to make it 3-3 through three.
Both teams would go scoreless until the sixth when Auburn scored one to retake the lead. The Tigers added four more on four hits in the bottom of the seventh to set the score at 8-3 headed to the final two frames. Alabama did not sit by quietly, putting up three runs in the top of the eighth to narrow the gap to two. Williamson led the inning off with a walk to force an AU pitching change.
A pair of back-to-back singles off the new reliever loaded the bases up for the Tide. One out later, a wild pitch moved everyone up 90 feet, scoring the man from third. Auerbach then delivered a two-RBI single through the right side to set things at 8-6. Auburn came right back to score nine in the eighth to put the game out of reach. Alabama rallied for one in the ninth on a solo homer from McCullough but the Tide would come no closer with a 17-7 final on Sunday.
The Sunday win for Auburn paired with their Friday victory knotted the season series up at 2-2. Alabama won the Capital City Classic along with game two of the weekend for its two wins.
Next up for the Crimson Tide is a trip to Troy on Wednesday, May 8, to take on the Trojans. The two in-state foes will meet at Riddle-Pace Field for a 6 p.m. CT first pitch on ESPN+.
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