Tide Offense Gets Series Win Over Auburn

AUBURN – Seventeen hits and seven runs provided enough insurance for the Crimson Tide pitching staff, as Alabama baseball battled for the 7-6 win on Saturday in the series-clinching game against Auburn. With the win, the Tide improves to 27-24 overall and 10-16 in SEC play.

Alabama will go for the sweep when the Tide and Auburn play at 1 p.m. CDT Sunday. Starters are soph right-hander Geoffrey Bramblett (6-3, 4.15) for Bama and junior right-hander Dalton Rentz (3-1, 2.27) for the Tigers.

“It feels good to get the win, but I’m more pleased with the way our team played and responded with their backs to the wall,” said Alabama Coach Mitch Gaspard. “Offensively, I thought we were really good. We showed good resolve when they regained the lead; we were able to come right back and answer, and that is a good sign for our group.”

In a game that featured three lead changes, the Crimson Tide came out on top in the end thanks to a standout offensive effort. Six Alabama hitters collected double-digits knocks while every starter recorded at least one hit. Georgie Salem and Kyle Overstreet each recorded three hits apiece with Overstreet providing a team-high two runs scored.

Alabama started the day’s scoring in the fourth. A leadoff single from Overstreet began the run-scoring sequence. An infield groundout moved Overstreet to third and then J.C. Wilhite delivered a tailing single towards the line in right to bring across the game’s first run, giving Alabama the 1-0 lead.

Freshman starter Jake Walters was cruising through the first five full innings, but ran into trouble in the sixth. An error and then a walk put two on with two down for Auburn. The Tigers would use a double and then a single to bring three across, with the final two runs scoring on close plays at the plate. Auburn would move to the seventh with the 3-1 lead and end Walters’ day. The freshman tossed 5 2/3 innings and allowed three runs (none earned) with six strikeouts.

Auburn would not hold the lead for long, as Alabama would put together a four-hit, four run seventh frame. White drew a one-out walk to start the rally and then advanced to second on a wild pitch. Casey Hughston would follow with a single to put runners on the corners for the Tide and force an AU pitching change.

Overstreet greeted the new Tigers arm with an RBI-single to left for his third hit of the day and the Tide’s second run of the afternoon. With runners on the corners, Cody Henry came through with a double midway up the wall in left to bring his two runs across and put Alabama ahead. One out later with Henry on third, Chance Vincent singled to right to bring across an insurance run and end the inning at 5-3 in Alabama’s favor.

The Tigers would put together a two spot in the bottom half of the seventh, using a leadoff walk and then a home run to even the score at 5-5.

In the eighth, a pair of runs pushed the Crimson Tide back out front. Avant led off the frame with a single to right and then advanced to third on a two-base fielding error as the right fielder dropped the ball trying to make a play at second. Salem stepped in and knocked a three-bagger off the wall in right to bring Avant across, and White joined the hit parade with a single to left to cross one more and push Alabama ahead, 7-5.

The Tigers would put together one run with the bases loaded, but Thomas Burrows would enter and collect the 4-3 groundout to end the eighth inning with just one run of damage and the score sitting at 7-6. Burrows remained in the game for the ninth, and promptly sat down the Auburn hitters in order to collect his team-leading fifth save of the season.

“There’s a lot of trust in Thomas Burrows,” Gaspard said of his closer. “He’s a guy that’s been in big spots for us the past two years and he shut the door for us today. Overall, I’m really proud of this team – and that’s what I told them after the game. We showed a lot of resolve, a lot of want-to, and that was good to see today.”


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