Bama Baseball Gets 10-6 Win Over Auburn

Taylor Dugas set a new Alabama career record for triples, while Kenny Roberts hit his first career grand slam to power the Alabama baseball team to a 10-6 victory over in-state rival, No. 23 Auburn. With the win the Crimson Tide improves to 11-19 and 2-8 in the Southeastern Conference, notching its second consecutive win, while Auburn falls to 17-12 and 6-4 in the SEC.

Dugas finished the night 2-for-4 with one run scored and three RBI, all three of which came on his record setting triple, in the eighth inning. Roberts had a 2-for-3, two run and four RBI night at the plate, including a grand slam in the third inning. Freshman Taylor Guilbeau (3-2) earned the victory for the Tide, pitching 4.0 innings in relief of starter Charley Sullivan, allowing just one run while striking out three. Auburn starter Derek Varnadore (1-4) took the loss for the Tigers.

"I thought that the key was in the middle of the game when Taylor Guilbeau came in," UA head coach Mitch Gaspard said. "He really solidified the game and calmed things down. At that time Auburn had really gotten going offensively, and he was able to put some zeros up and put some quality innings out there."

Dugas' two-out, three RBI, eighth inning triple broke the previous mark of 13 held by former UA standout Emeel Salem. Furthermore, Dugas also tied Crimson Tide legend Dave Magadan's career doubles mark at 64, with a leadoff double in the bottom of the first inning. It was all part of a game that saw a combined 16 runs on 24 hits, including five doubles and four home runs.

"Offensively we were really good for nine innings," UA Coach Mitch Gaspard said. "We kept pretty good pressure on them, but the big blow was from Kenny Roberts. That was really big for our team. We'd been waiting on Kenny to deliver, and hopefully that's the hit that will really jumpstart him and get him going. And then obviously there's Dugas. Not only does he break the record for triples, but it was the biggest blow of the night. It kind of put the nail in the coffin for us at the end. It was a good night for us and a good night for our players. As I said earlier, they have continued to work at it and stay strong. This is our first SEC Friday night win, and we've got an opportunity to come in on Saturday with a better feel for things, and an opportunity to win a series."

The Tigers notched the first score of the evening, plating an unearned run in the top of the first to take a 1-0 lead before Alabama answered back with a run of its own in the bottom half of the inning to tie the score at 1-1. Dugas led off with a double, moved to third on a sacrifice bunt then scored on a one-out RBI groundout by senior shortstop Jared Reaves.

The Tide added to the run total in the bottom of the second, upping to the score to 2-1 on a two-out RBI single by James Tullidge, before Auburn tied the game at 2-2 in the top of third via a solo home run by the No. 3-hole hitter, Ryan Tella.

The Tide exploded for five runs in the third, four of which came courtesy of Roberts' grand-slam, to extend the advantage to 7-2. Austen Smith drove home the first run of the inning, scoring Reaves from second on a sharp, two-out RBI single to right field. After Jon Kelton walked to load the bases, Roberts unleashed a towering shot to left field, clearing the bases to push the Alabama advantage to five runs.

Auburn answered with a run in the top of the fourth, then three runs in the top of the fifth - all three of which coming off Tiger home runs – to cut the Alabama lead to 7-6.

After a scoreless sixth and seventh innings, the Tide got out of a jam in the top of the eighth, utilizing a timely 6-4-3 double play to end an Auburn scoring threat, before adding three insurance runs in the bottom of the inning on the bases-clearing triple by Dugas to take a 10-6 advantage into the ninth inning.

Jake Hubbard pitched a scoreless ninth inning of relief to preserve the victory for the Crimson Tide. Game two of the series between Alabama and No. 23 Auburn will begin at 3:05 p.m. on Saturday from Sewell-Thomas Stadium. The game will be televised on CSS with Matt Stewart and Rusty Ensor calling the action. The Tide is scheduled to start freshman left-hander Justin Kamplain (1-2, 3.21 ERA) while the Tigers will counter with sophomore lefty Will Kendall (4-0, 2.134 ERA). Follow the Alabama Crimson Tide baseball team on Facebook at Alabama-Baseball and on Twitter at @AlabamaBSB.

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