Auburn earns Senior Day win to seal series over Alabama

No. 20 Auburn (35-16, 15-11 SEC) rallied from an early deficit to earn its 18th comeback win of the season to clinch the series win over Alabama (27-24, 10-16 SEC ) during the senior day on the Plains.

Alabama took an early lead, but Auburn’s offense slowly lost its lead as its bullpen held back silent Tide bats after starting pitcher Trace Bright’s early exit.

“Today was a good day to win a series,” head coach Butch Thompson said. “We had a difficult start, but we kept our cool. It took us a long time to get back into the ball game, but those fourth, fifth, sixth, and seventh innings we chained together to score a run in every inning. »

With a quick start to the game, Alabama rallied for four hits and two free passes from Bright, including a no-doubt three-run home run by southpaw William Hamiter to cap a top four run from first. .

After the grueling 36-pitch frame where he allowed six base runners, Bright’s day ended and he handed the ball to left-hander Tommy Sheehan.

Sheehan, who started the season in a starting role, was able to give the Tigers some much-needed length out of the bullpen. He pitched four scoreless innings and gave Auburn’s bats some time to come to life.

After being held scoreless through the first three innings, Auburn’s offense climbed the board in three straight innings starting in the fourth, eventually regaining the lead.

Bobby Pierce, who made an impressive jumping catch earlier in the game while retreating towards the fence, continued to make his presence felt in the fourth, lining up a 411-foot shot off the wall to left center for his sixth home year’s run. His solo shot served as the spark for Auburn’s comeback effort.

“[The early deficit] is tough, but we knew we were going to rally,” Pierce said. We are never out of a game.”

In the fifth inning that followed, Auburn took advantage of an Alabama defensive error and nailed two more. With one out and runners on first and second, Sonny DiChiara hit soft ground at first base. Trying to get the strength to second, the first baseman tossed it to second and rolled it over the shortstop’s head. Advancing to score was Garrett Farquhar and everyone was safe.

Continuing the move, Blake Rambusch lined up a right-center blooper for an RBI single, tagging Brody Moore to make it a 4-3 Alabama lead.

As Sheehan wrapped up his day after the fifth inning, Auburn began passing the baton, and all of his relievers had an impressive performance. Carson Swilling took the ball in the sixth and seventh and allowed no runs while allowing only one hitter to reach on a hit-per-pitch.

As the bullpen sailed, the offense continued to veer and the Tigers tied the score in the sixth. After Brooks Carlson scored a single and advanced to second on a Kason Howell pitch, Nate LaRue picked left center to hit it. At 4-4, it was now a whole new ball game.

The seventh is where the Tigers took their one and only lead. After two quick outs from Moore and DiChiara, they compiled a two-out rally.

Once again Rambusch, the hit team leader, hit a double hit. After his single, he stole second place. With him in scoring position, Pierce once again hit a go-ahead single.

Continuing the rally, Brooks Carlson singled out to put the runners into the corners when Pierce made a risky decision with two on the outside. When a passed ball rolled a few yards from the receiver, Pierce immediately rushed to the plate, and although the passed receiver appeared to be in position to get out, Pierce slid his hand to the plate on a headfirst slide for insurance. Course.

With a 6-4 lead, rookie Chase Allsup took the mound in the eighth in hopes of extending the bullpen’s impressive work. After a first single, he caused a double play and sat a batter on strikes to finish the eighth.

In a backup situation, Auburn opted out of closing in on Blake Burkhalter, who threw 18 pitches on his Game 1 save, but instead sent Allsup back to the mound in search of his second save of the season.

That’s exactly what he did. Retiring the first batter on a groundout, he then fanned the next two to seal the Game 2 win and continue the Auburn relievers’ 14.1-game scoreless streak. It also sealed the series victory in the team’s final regular season series of the season.

Swilling racked up his third win of the season while Allsup notched his second stoppage, but Sheehan taking over from Bright and recording four innings of no-run while getting four Ks was as efficient as can be. He saved Auburn’s bullpen from burnout in Game 2 of the series and took half of the bullpen’s eight IPs for the day.

“I was just trying to stay inside and do what I could,” Sheehan said. “We knew they were a good fastball hitting team, so we were trying to get a good pitching mix today, which worked out well for me and the guys who followed me.”

At home plate, the Tigers had a lot going for them. They compiled 12 hits, to Crimson Tide’s six.

Auburn had four players with multiple hit performances: Rambusch, Pierce, Carlson and LaRue. Rambusch led the club with three hits and added an RBI and a run scored. Pierce also had a big day, going 2 for 4 with two RBIs and two runs scored.

Then, Auburn will host Alabama again for Game 3 tomorrow at 3:00 p.m. CST on the SEC Network, and they’ll have several key arms who will be well-rested, including: Burkhalter, Carson Skipper, John Armstrong and more.

“Only four base runners made it to the last eight innings,” Thompson said. “Our pitching team just got down to trying to get us back into this baseball game. Swilling came in and really shuffled his pitches before handing him over to Allsup. It was Allsup time. We had Burkhalter ready to go, but in the end we didn’t need him.

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