HOOVER, Ala. - Alabama used a three-run bottom of the eighth to eliminate Auburn from the Southeastern Conference Baseball Tournament on Tuesday afternoon at the Hoover Met. With the loss Auburn ends the regular season 33-23 with NCAA Tournament selections to be revealed on Monday at 11am.
"(Alabama) is a good baseball team," Auburn Head Coach John Pawlowski said. "We pitched out of a couple of jams but Alabama's big hit in the eighth inning really opened the door for them to win. Regardless, I'm proud of my kids. Unfortunately, it didn't work out for us today."
Tied 3-3 headed to the eighth, Alabama (33-24) knocked Reid Carter from the game with a one-out single after he had held Alabama scoreless over 2 1/3 innings. Auburn called on closer Terrance Dedrick but he allowed a Brett Booth double on a hit-and-run that put two in scoring position. Dedrick had thrown the pitch high and outside with the runner going but Booth got enough of it to loft the ball down the line in right, out of the reach of right fielder Hunter Kelley. After an intentional walk loaded the bases, Chance Vincent singled up the middle to score a run and give Alabama the lead. Kenny Roberts followed with a sac fly before a Dedrick wild pitch brought the final run home.
Carter, who was saddled with the loss to fall to 1-2, had kept the game tied in the sixth when he came in for starter Conner Kendrick with two in scoring position and none out. He got Booth to strike out and then intentionally walked Andrew Miller to load the bases. Vincent hit a slow chopper back to Carter, who got the force out at the plate before retiring Roberts on a grounder to first.
Carter finished the regular season with 25 inherited runners, allowing just three to score.
Alabama reliever Jay Shaw (2-1) earned the win, throwing a career-long five innings, holding Auburn to no runs on four hits and a walk.
Alabama went up 1-0 in the first, scoring an unearned run off of Kendrick on a Ben Moore RBI groundout. Kendrick, who was 1-1 in two previous appearances against Alabama this season, would pitch into the sixth, getting charged for three runs (two earned) on six hits and two walks while striking out just one.
"I felt good out there today but I couldn't take command of my secondary pitches and that's what hurt us today," Kendrick said. "Sometimes when a pitcher misses spots, the other team capitalizes on it."
Auburn got to Alabama starter Justin Kamplain in the third, forcing the left-hander to throw 40 pitches as seven men came to the plate. Back-to-back walks to Cullen Wacker and Garrett Cooper set the stage for Patrick Savage's RBI double down the line in left that tied it 1-1. A sac fly by Dan Glevenyak gave Auburn the lead while an infield RBI single by Jordan Ebert, which was just under the glove of Kamplain, stretched the lead to 3-1.
Alabama closed the game to 3-2 in the fourth on a Booth RBI single to shallow center. Alabama threatened to tie the game but Auburn turned an around-the-horn, inning-ending double play to strand the tying run at third.
Auburn was held to eight hits on the day while Alabama finished with nine hits, the most Auburn had allowed since May 8. Kelley led Auburn with two hits while Alabama's Austin Smith had three and Booth had two.