Alabama Baseball Sweeps Auburn

Did you miss a spot right there? Oh, no. It's fine. A clean sweep. Very nice job. That's what the Alabama baseball team delivered this weekend against cross-state rival Auburn as the Crimson Tide took a 6-2 decision over the Tigers Sunday at Sewell-Thomas Stadium.

Alabama starter Jon Keller (1-1) earned his first career victory, tossing 5 2/3 innings while allowing just one run on seven hits. Keller struck out a career-high six batters in his fourth career start for Bama. Jake Hubbard didn't allow a hit or a run in 1 2/3 innings to record his second save of the season.

The win improved the Crimson Tide recod to 13-19 overall and 4-8 in Southeastern Conference play. Auburn fell to 17-14, and 6-6 in the SEC.

The series sweep of 23rd ranked Auburn marks the first time since 2002 that the Tide has swept the Tigers in a three-game series. It is also Alabama's first three-game sweep of an SEC team since taking Kentucky on March 25-27 last year.

"We got another really good start from Jon Keller today," Alabama Coach Mitch Gaspard said. "What I think was the key to the weekend was that we got some timely hits, going from Friday to today. We had (Brett) Booth's two-run homer that really got us going. But throughout the lineup, the at-bats were really competitive. We're pressuring the defense a little more from an offensive standpoint.

"Then, we made some really good plays defensively today as well, and the pitching and the defense go hand-in-hand. We're throwing more strikes and we're defending the field much better as well."

Booth's two-run home run in the fifth inning gave Alabama a 3-0 lead. He also scored two runs. Hunter Gregory also scored two runs and went 2-4. Taylor Dugas, the hitting star of the first two Bama wins, had another solid day, going 2-5 with one run scored. Been Moore extended his team-leading hitting streak to 11 games as he went 2-4 with a run and an RBI.

Alabama struck first in the bottom of the second inning, capitalizing on an Auburn error to take an early 1-0 lead. Moore singled with two outs. On a steal attempt, the throw beat him to the bag, but the ball was dropped by Auburn shortstop Dan Flevenyak. Kenny Roberts drew a walk, and then James Tullidge singled to score Moore.

After a pair of scoreless innings, Alabama added to the lead in the bottom of the fifth courtesy of the two-run bomb by Booth. The junior catcher from Northport turned on the first pitch he saw, taking the ball over the left field wall for his team-leading third home run and team-leading 22nd and 23rd RBI of the season, giving the Tide a 3-0 advantage.

A home run in the top of the sixth inning by Tiger third baseman Justin Bryant cut the score to 3-1.

Alabama answered with a three-run seventh.

Gregory and Dugas had back-to-back singles to open the inning, and then pulled off a double steal to advance to second and third. Booth was walked to load the basis. Jared Reaves had a sacrifice fly to score Gregory. Moore ripped a single to center to score Dugas. A throwing error allowed Booth to get home and make it 6-1.

Auburn got a run in the eighth, but Bama got out of a bases-loaded jam on the pitching of Hubbard—the Tide's third pitcher of the inning--and good defense.

Auburn starter Daniel Koger (2-2) took the loss, allowing three runs (two earned) on five hits in five innings. Alabama outscored Auburn a combined 20-11 over the course of the three-game series, totaling a SEC-high 10 runs in the series opening victory on Friday. The Crimson Tide had a home run in all three games, marking the first time this year Alabama has gone deep in three consecutive SEC games. The four-game winning streak equals the longest for the Crimson Tide this year.

Alabama returns to action Tuesday when the Tide hosts the UAB Blazers at Sewell-Thomas Stadium at 6:05 p.m. CDT.

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