Bama rallies past Tigers, 8-6

TUSCALOOSA, Ala. -- The No. 3 ranked Alabama Crimson Tide scored six runs in the final two innings, capping a wild comeback to defeat No. 30 Auburn 8-6 Friday night before a sellout crowd of 6,118 fans at Sewell-Thomas Stadium.

The Crimson Tide (36-7, 14-5 SEC) snapped a 6-6 tie with two runs in eighth inning and extend its lead over Ole Miss (an 8-5 loser at home to Tennessee) to two games on the SEC Western Division.

Senior Brent Boyd's bases loaded sacrifice fly with one out scored Adam Pavkovich from third base to give Alabama a 7-6 lead. Travis Garner later reached on an error by AU third baseman Jonathan Schuerholz, allowing Peter Stonard from second base. Auburn made four errors in the game, matching their season high.

Pavkovich drew a leadoff walk of losing pitcher Mike Mueller (2-2) and moved to third on Stonard's double into the left field corner. Jeremy Brown was intentionally walked to load the bases and Boyd delivered the game-winner, a deep fly ball to left field.

Schuerholz then cut in front of shortstop Chuck Jerolman, allowing Garner to reach safely and chasing Stonard home from third base.

"We were able to battle back and find a way to win the game," Alabama coach Jim Wells said. "We overcame a tough start and hung in there and got some key hits tonight. It was big win."

The Crimson Tide also comitted three errors and stranded 11 base runners, including six in scoring position.

Alabama tied the game with a four-run seventh inning, chasing AU starter Eric Brandon. Grant Redding reached on an infield single and scored on Scott McClanahan's two-run home run to left-center field.

Brandon was replaced by Steven Register, who allowed a one-out double to Stonard. Stonard's ball hit the top of the wall and came into the field of play. After a miscue by right fielder Doug Vines, Stonard raced to third.

With two outs, Boyd was hit by a pitch and Garner walked to load the bases. Junior designated hitter Beau Hearod then lined a single to left field, scoring Stonard and Boyd to tie the game at 6-6. Carlos Sosa was hit by a pitch to again load, chasing Register. Mueller came on and ended the inning as Redding flied out to end the inning.

Hearod finished the game with three hits and two RBI. Boyd also had three RBI for the Crimson Tide.

Auburn (27-16, 9-10 SEC) took a 5-0 lead in the fourth inning on six hits and two Alabama errors.

AU sent 10 men to the plate in a lengthy fourth inning to take a 5-0 lead over Alabama. The Tigers managed six hits and benefitted from two Alabama errors. The Tigers also made two base running errors that could have led to more offense. Bobby Huddleston was thrown out at home and Doug Vines was thrown out in a run down between second and third base.

Huddleston drove in the first two runs of the game with a two-run double into right-center field. Sean Gamble opened the inning with a double and moved to third on Javon Moran's infield base hit. Huddleston then followed with a double to give AU a 2-0 lead.

Trent Pratt followed with a single to left and took second base when left fielder Grant Redding's throw short-hopped Jeremy Brown. Vines then reached on a fielder's choice and Huddleston was thrown out by pitcher Lance Cormier in a run down between third and home. Scott Schade reached on a fielder's choice, scoring Pratt from third base. Vines was picked off in a run down and Schade moved to second during the run down.

Tug Hulett followed with an bloop single to right to score Schade from second base and after an error by right fielder Travis Garner, Hulett advanced to second base. Chuck Jerolman ripped a double to left center to score Hulett with a 5-0 Auburn lead.

"We certainly dug ourselves a hole with that one inning," Wells added. "We had some turmoil and breakdowns that can cost you the game. Once we finally got back to the dugout, we regained our composure and battled back."

Alabama answered with two runs in the bottom of the inning when Jeremy Brown walked and scored on Brent Boyd's two-run home run to right field. It was Boyd's fifth home run of the season and third in the last four games.

The Tigers added an unearned run in the sixth inning to take a 6-2 lead. Moran reached on two base error by third baseman Allen Rice. After a single by Huddleston sent Moran to third, Vines singled up the middle to score Moran from third base and extend AU's lead to 6-2.

Taylor Tankersley (7-3) earned the win, retiring five of the six batter he faced in relief of Cormier. Tankersley struck out three batters, including Huddleston to end the game. Comier worked 7 1/3 innings, allowing six runs on 10 hits.

Tankersley has recorded six wins, two losses and three saves in his last 11 appearances out of the bullpen. The seven wins are one shy of the Alabama single-season record of eight wins held by B.J. Green (1998) and Scott Murphy (1999).

The Crimson Tide and Tigers resume their series with a 3:07 p.m. (CT) game on Saturday. The game will be televised live by FOX Sports Net South as the SEC Game of the Week. Jeffrey Norris (LH, 4-0, 1.93 ERA) will pitch for Alabama, while Auburn will counter with Colby Paxton (RH, 8-3, 4.57 ERA).


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