Alabama Beaten In Extra Innings
Alabama (36-16, 17-10 SEC) had its eight-game winning streak snapped with the loss and fell into fourth-place in the league standings behind LSU, Mississippi and Florida.
"At this time of the season, you can't really dwell on (the loss)," Alabama Coach Jim Wells said. "We have to come out tomorrow and play again and those same guys will have to pitch. And we have to find ways to win like we did last week.
"We have to keep playing. It would be nice to win the league, but we are close to being in a position to win some post-season games. Every game is a chance to learn from and get better and tonight we did not win. We have another game tomorrow."
Wes Gilmer opened the 10th inning with a single to right field against sophomore right-hander Nathan Kilcrease, who allowed the tying run to score on three hits in the ninth inning for the Tide's eighth blown save of the season.
Justin Hargett's sacrifice bunt against junior right-hander Adam Scott moved Gilmer into scoring position. Scott then hit Trent Mummey to put runners at first and second with one out. Sophomore Tyler White replaced Scott then hit Ben Jones to load the bases. White got Hunter Morris to pop out for the second out and got ahead of Brian Fletcher with a 1-2 count before three straight balls scored pinch-runner Bradley Ray from third base with the winning run.
Kilcrease (4-3) was losing pitcher after allowing two runs on four hits in two-thirds of an inning out of the pen. The Phenix City native entered the game with a win and two saves in his previous three outings, but suffered his third blown save of the year – all in SEC play – in the loss to the Tigers.
Auburn relief ace Austin Hubbard (3-3), who leads the league with 12 saves, pitched three innings in a non-save situation for the win. After allowing an inherited runner to score in the eighth inning, Hubbard blanked to the Tide in the final three innings and struck out five.
"(Hubbard) came in out of the pen and he was better than our guys (out of the pen) and that was the game," Wells added. "They got three straight hits off Kilcrease, Scott hit a batter and White walked a guy."
The Tigers (30-24, 10-18 SEC) tied the game in the ninth inning on Tony Caldwell's two-out base hit to right field that scored Fletcher from second base. Caldwell was 2-for-4 with two RBI to lead the Tigers' seven-hit attack.
Alabama had taken a 2-1 lead in the top of the eighth inning when senior center fielder Alex Kubal doubled and scored on second baseman Ross Wilson's two-out infield hit. Wilson's base hit extended his hitting streak to 12 games.
Both starting pitchers were very good on Thursday night as the score was tied 1-1 in the eighth inning.
Alabama senior Austin Hyatt held the Tigers to one run on four hits in 8 1/3 innings with eight strikeouts. Hyatt left the game with the lead for the 13th time in 13 starts this season. Auburn freshman Jon Luke Jacobs held the Tide to two runs on three hits in seven-plus innings with nine strikeouts and two walks.. Jacobs left with a 1-1 tie.
"Hyatt pitched well and (Jacobs) pitched well," Wells added.
Alabama scored first with a run in the top of the fourth inning to take a 1-0 lead. Jacobs retired the first 11 Alabama batters he faced before sophomore shortstop Josh Rutledge got the Tide's first hit with a double down the right field line with one out. After Wilson flied out, Kent Matthes was walked and junior DH Brandon May collected his team-best 28th, two-out RBI with a single to left to score Rutledge and put the Tide up by a run.
Auburn tied the game in the bottom of the seventh inning on Caldwell's two-out single that scored Hunter Morris to even the score at 1-1. Morris led of the inning to snap a streak of 10 straight batters retired by UA starter Austin Hyatt.
Alabama and Auburn meet again on Friday at 6 p.m. (CDT) at Plainsman Park. Junior Del Howell (5-2, 5.94 ERA) will pitch for the Tide.
*Alabama (36-16, 17-10 SEC) had its eight-game winning streak and six-game SEC winning snapped in the series opener.
*All five runs scored on Friday night were with two outs.
*Senior right fielder Kent Matthes (Orlando, Fla.) recorded his 23rd career outfield assist in the ninth inning to become the Tide's all-time leader. He surpassed the previous record of 22 career outfield assists held by Scott McClanahan (1999-2002), who was at the game as the analyst for Comcast Sports South's television broadcast.
*Sophomore second baseman Ross Wilson (Hoover) extended his hitting streak to 12 games with two-out RBI single in the eighth inning.
*The SEC's two most prolific home run-hitting teams did not hit a home run in the series opener.. In fact the teams combined for five runs and 13 hits. Auburn had eight singles, while Alabama had five hits, including two doubles. The teams entered the game with 203 combined home runs. Alabama has hit 103 and Auburn has 100.
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