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March 30, 2013- -
AUBURN | Auburn was shut out for the first time at a most inopportune time.
Alabama won the final game of the rivals' series 2-0, marking the first time since 2006 that the home team didn't win the weekend. The Tigers simply struggled to create consistency at the plate, grounded into four double plays during the first five innings and wasted fine pitching performances from Will Kendall and Daniel Koger.
Alabama finished with only two hits, but capitalized when opportunities arose.
"Frustrating. Very frustrating," Auburn coach John Pawlowski said. "I thought that Will Kendall and Daniel Koger both did an outstanding job for us and unfortunately we just weren't able to get anything going offensively."
An error by third baseman Damek Tomscha helped the Tide notch its first run. A sharply hit ball found its way between Tomscha and the line, which allowed a runner to score easily from second base.
Will Kendall, making his first Southeastern Conference start in a year, needed 53 pitches to complete his three innings of work. He allowed the lone unearned run and topped out at 88 mph. Daniel Koger needed just 72 pitches to work his six innings, though he and Kendall still fell short of Alabama starter Spencer Turnbull's efforts on the mound. The right-hander struck out four and allowed only four hits to earn a complete-game victory.
The series loss to Alabama (18-11, 7-2) marked the third straight Southeastern Conference series loss for Auburn (16-12, 1-8), which now has the worst conference record in the SEC.
"Obviously it's a tough start for our group and it's not the start that we had envisioned or hoped for," Pawlowski said. "We have to keep moving forward. It's frustrating for our team, but I know success will come with this group. They've got to keep their heads up and keep working."
The Tigers resume play Wednesday against Wofford (13-15) at Plainsman Park. Auburn's next league series begins Friday at Texas A&M.