Tigers Drop First Game of Series To Tide

The Auburn baseball team's rally falls short against the Tide.

Tuscaloosa, Ala- Auburn had clawed back within one run, but the Tide (11-19, 2-8) put the game away with three runs in the bottom of the eighth, giving Alabama a 10-6 win in the first game of the weekend baseball series at Sewell-Thomas Stadium.

Auburn (17-12, 6-4) was able to get one runner on in the ninth, but didn't have enough for a rally.

"We just didn't execute in a couple situations we needed to make a big pitch, and we weren't able to do that," said Auburn coach John Pawlowski.

"Our offense did a really good job," he said. "They battled back being down 7-2 and really fought back to get ourselves in that game. And we had it at 7-6, but again, we just weren't able to overcome that lead that they had."

With Auburn down 7-6, the Tigers had a chance to tie the game in the top of the eighth though.

After singling, sophomore Dan Glevenyak advanced to second on a passed ball. Creede Simpson then singled to center, but Glevenyak was held at third. With runners on the corners and one out, Ryan Tella ground into a double play to end the inning.

"You got to look at every situation," said Pawlowski about Glevenyak being held at third. "I look back at this game, and I don't know whether it's one play or one pitch or whatever it may be. It's a culmination of a lot of things. They were better than us tonight. We've got to come back and be ready to go tomorrow."

Sophomore Ryan Tella led the way on offense for the Tigers, going 4-5 on the evening with his second home run of the season, two doubles, a single, two runs and one RBI.

The Tigers had 16 hits for the game, but only managed six runs, leaving 10 runners on base to the Tide's five.

Derek Varnadore (1-4) took the loss for the Tigers after giving up seven earned runs on seven hits in five innings. Jay Wade and Zach Blatt combined to give up three runs in the three innings pitched.

With two outs in the bottom of the third the Tide's offense kicked into gear. Varnadore nicked Jared Reaves on the wrist. Reaves advanced to second on an infield single by Ben Moore and scored one batter later when Austen Smith singled to right.

After Jon Kelton walked to load the bases, Kenny Roberts emptied them with a grand slam over the left field wall, giving the Tide a 7-2 lead heading into the top of the fourth.

"They put some good swings on it with two outs," said Pawlowski of Roberts' grand slam. "You've got to be able to finish pitches. You've got to be able to finish innings, and unfortunately, we weren't able to do that tonight."

With two outs in the top of the fourth, the Tigers started their comeback. Jay Gonzalez doubled down the left field line. Dan Glevenyak followed that with a double of his own, scoring Gonzalez, cutting the Tide's lead to 7-3.

The Tigers continued their rally in the top of the fifth. Tella led off the inning with a double to center. Garrett Cooper then knocked his second home run of the season over the left-field wall. After Cullen Wacker struck out swinging, Justin Bryant got in on the action, hitting a solo shot to left, his first home run of the year.

The Tigers got two more on base with one out, but couldn't take advantage as Austin was picked off at first and Glevenyak grounded out. Auburn had pulled the score within one though, at 7-6.

The Tigers, who are 15-3 this season when scoring first, got off to a quick start in the top of the first. After a Gonzalez groundout, Simpson scorched a single up the middle. Tella then hit a double off the glove of center fielder Taylor Dugas, advancing Simpson to third.

Cooper then lined to second baseman Kenny Roberts who made a throwing error trying to catch Tella at second. The error allowed Simpson to score from third, giving the Tigers a 1-0 lead.

The Tide responded in the bottom of the first, when Dugas, who hit a opposite field bloop double to start the inning, scored on a fielder's choice from third, evening the score 1-1.

With two outs and Zach Alvord and Blake Austin in scoring position in the top of the second, the Tigers couldn't take advantage as Gonzalez popped out to end the inning. The Tide couldn't muster up anything in the bottom half, and the score remained tied 1-1.

Kenny Roberts singled off Varnadore's foot and then advanced to second on a balk. James Tullidge then hit a line-drive double to right field, and Roberts beat an accurate throw from Gonzalez to score and take a 2-1 lead heading into the top of the third.

With one out and no one on base in the third ,Tella evened the score at two when he smashed his second home run of the season well over the right-center field wall.

After Kelton walked and advanced to second on a sacrifice bunt, Wade hit Tullidge with a pitch. Pawlowski brought in Zach Blatt in from the bullpen. After Blatt walked Gregory to load the bases, Taylor Dugas hit a bases-clearing triple to give the Tide a 10-6 lead.

The Tigers will face the Tide Saturday at 3 p.m. in the second game of the series, which will be televised on CSS.

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