regular season finale win over Auburn to avoid sweep

regular season finale win over Auburn to avoid sweep
regular season finale win over Auburn to avoid sweep

Alabama baseball won its regular season finale at Auburn 12-5 on Saturday in a game that lasted over six hours due to a ninth-inning weather delay. Auburn clinched the series with wins on Thursday and Friday, but Alabama avoided the sweep with Saturday’s victory.

The No. 24 Crimson Tide (33-21, 13-17 SEC) started the scoring with an RBI single by Kade Snell to score Ian Petrutz in the first inning. Auburn (27-26, 8-22 SEC) responded with an unearned run at the bottom of the frame. After Chris Stanfield reached first on an error and stole second, Ike Irish brought him home with an RBI single to tie the game 1-1 after one.

In the second inning, Alabama went down in order, and Auburn scored again on an RBI groundout by Stanfield. The Tigers stretched their lead to 4-1 with a two-run home run by Mason Maners in the fourth inning.

Game One: Alabama baseball falls to Auburn, 4-2, in the first game of the season’s final series

Game Two: Alabama baseball battles back but drops wild game at Auburn to lose the Iron Bowl series

The Alabama offense looked flat against Auburn starter Christian Herberholz through four innings but finally got a hold of him in the fifth frame. A Will Hodo walk and Max Grant single gave the Tide runners on the corners, which Gage Miller turned into an RBI single. Petrutz laid down a sacrifice bunt to advance Grant and Miller to scoring position, and a single by William Hamiter into right field gave Alabama two more runs to tie the game at 4-4.

Mac Guscette caught two Auburn runners stealing at the bottom of the fifth, and the Alabama offense stayed hot into the sixth, even after Auburn turned to Dylan Watts on the mound. Consecutive singles by TJ McCants, Hodo and Grant loaded up the bases, and Watts was pulled for Ben Schorr. Miller welcomed Schorr to the game with a three-RBI double to reclaim the lead for Alabama. A hit-by-pitch, balk and intentional walk sequence reloaded the bases for Guscette, who got hit by a pitch to cross another run and gave Alabama an 8-4 lead.

With two outs and the bases still loaded, Auburn turned to Conner McBride on the mound, marking the Tigers’ third pitching change in one Alabama trip through the lineup. McBride struck out McCants to strand the runners and ended the Tide threat in the sixth, but the Tigers couldn’t respond after a double play and strikeout ended the inning quickly.

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Ben Hess put together another long, efficient outing on the mound for Alabama. He tied last week’s career and season-high with 6 ⅔ innings pitched and tossed a career-high 108 pitches. Hess allowed five runs (three earned runs) on 10 hits with nine strikeouts. Hess’ night ended at the bottom of the seventh after he allowed a two-out RBI single, and Alabama turned to Alton Davis II for the rest of the game.

Davis retired Auburn’s batters in order in the eighth, and Miller brought Hodo home with an RBI single for his fifth RBI of the game in the ninth. Petrutz blasted a three-run home run in the next at-bat to make it 12-5. The game then went into a lightning delay after one swing by Justin Lebron.

After a two-and-a-half-hour delay, the ninth inning resumed. Auburn’s Griffin Graves struck out three Alabama batters in a row. Looking to mount a seven-run comeback at the bottom of the ninth, Maners opened with a double and advanced to third after a groundout by Deric Fabian. Stanfield struck out swinging, and a groundout ended the game six hours and 15 minutes after it started.

With the victory, Alabama will head to Hoover as the No. 7 seed in the SEC Tournament.

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