Tide Edges Baseball Tigers Again

Alabama took a 7-6 baseball victory at Plainsman Park on Saturday to clinch the series.

Rocky McCord (above) left with the lead, but the bullpen didn't hang on to it for the Tigers.

Auburn, Ala.--After suffering back-to-back losses to archrival Alabama, Coach Sunny Golloway said the Auburn baseball team still has work to do to qualify for an NCAA regional.

As was the case on Friday night the visitors rallied late to take a victory, holding off Auburn 7-6 on Saturday at Plainsman Park. The Tide heads into Sunday’s series finale for a sweep while trying to improve its record of 27-24 overall and 10-16 in the SEC.

Auburn fell to 12-14 in the SEC and 32-19 overall.

“I have always said we have got to win a couple more ball games,” Golloway said. “Now we have four more SEC games and we have to win a couple games--there is no doubt about it.

“If we are sitting back trying not to lose that is the wrong attitude and that is not the attitude that is being displayed by the coaching staff,” Golloway said. “We are telling them to go win the game and we are trying to win the game.

“We are double-stealing there with two outs (in the eighth inning) trying to put two guys in scoring position to get a hit and tie the game and taking a tremendous risk doing it so we are playing to win and we need our guys to play to win,” Golloway said.

Alabama out-hit Auburn 17-8, but the Tigers had a chance to win late in the contest.

After the Tide scored twice to take a 7-5 lead in the top of the eighth inning, Auburn loaded the bases in the bottom half of the frame.

An infield hit by Jackson Burgreen to shortstop cut the margin to 7-6 as Austin Murphy scored, but Tide pitcher Thomas Burrows forced Kyler Deese to ground out to second base to end the threat.

Burrows retired the Tigers one-two-three in the ninth to record the save.

“The guys fought back really well and came back and took the lead in the sixth and tied it up again in the seventh,” Golloway said. “We just never could really build momentum. We were pitching up in the bullpen and that’s two nights in a row we were up in the zone. They’ve got a lineup that will hurt you if you are up in the zone.”

The game was scoreless until the Tide got an RBI single to right field in the fourth inning by J.C. Wilhite to score Kyle Overstreet, who had reached base on a double.

Rocky McCord got out of the inning without further damage and kept the game close enabling the Tigers to take a 3-1 lead in the sixth.

The rally started when Kyler Deese hit a ground ball to pitcher Jake Walters, who bobbled it, allowing Deese to reach first. Deese moved to second on a walk to Melvin Gray.

Auburn second baseman Melvin Gray races to the plate for an Auburn run.

After a strikeout by Anfernee Grier, Daniel Robert doubled to left center field to score both runners. Damon Haecker then singled to right field to score Robert.

Auburn’s lead didn’t last long as the visitors added four runs in the seventh. The comeback started with a walk and a single, which was the end of the day for McCord. Unfortunately for the Tigers, reliever Justin Camp was no mystery to the Tide hitters.

A double by Cody Henry off the Green Monster scored two runs. Henry then scored from second on a single to right field by Chance Vincent.

Vincent, the Tide first baseman, was injured in the bottom half of seventh inning when he collided with rightfielder Casey Hughston making a catch on a foul ball. Vincent was taken to East Alabama Medical Center by ambulance.

Before the injury the Tigers had tied the game at 5-5 when Gillikin walked and scored on a home run over the left field wall by Cody Nulph, the fourth of the SEC schedule for the Tigers.

Alabama responded with two runs in the top of the eighth off of Camp, who gave up seven hits in 2 2/3 innings and was charged with the loss.

Chandler Avent started the rally when he singled to right field and ended up on third base when Haecker misplayed the ball. Georgie Salem then smacked a triple off the right center field fence to make the score 6-5 and he scored on a line drive single to left by Mikey White.

That insurance run was needed when the home team scored once in the eighth.

The teams will play the series finale with a 1 p.m. CDT start on Sunday at Plainsman Park.

Game 2, Box Score

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