Despite recovering from a three-run deficit twice, Auburn lost 8-7 in 10 innings against Alabama on Thursday.
"Both teams, when one scored the other responded immediately," said head coach Butch Thompson. "You want to win a game like that when they're laying it out there because it means a lot more. It gets swallowed up in a loss. When you're playing your rival, you have to find a way to win it right there at the end.”
Both teams alternated solo home runs in the eighth inning, but a scoreless ninth sent the game into extras. After Alabama struck out the Auburn bats in order, the Crimson Tide managed three consecutive singles to walk it off in the 10th.
The loss was Auburn’s seventh by a one-score margin in 13 SEC games this season.
Kason Howell and Steven Williams were a combined 5-for-10 batting with four runs, a double, triple, three home runs and five RBI. Howell produced the first multi-home run effort of his career.
Richard Fitts pitched 4.1 innings in relief, posting a season-high seven strikeouts. Fitts allowed only two hits, but they were both critical, a game-tying home run in the fifth, and a game-tying home run in the eighth.
"Williams and Howell were special," Thompson said." I thought that was Fitts' best outing of the year. Hopefully we can build off that."
Sign up for our newsletter
Get The Plainsman straight to your inbox.
Auburn came out of the gate hot, with runners on the corners with one out in the first, but a strikeout and groundout extinguished the opportunity. The Tigers got on the scoreboard in their next at-bat on a solo home run from Williams. This was the sixth home run on the year for the senior, and his second in as many games.
The Tide struck back with a two-out single and a two-run home run in the home half to take the lead. The ‘Bama bats escalated the scoring to 4-1 on a pair of two-out base hits in the third.
The Tigers rallied in the fourth behind a Williams triple and a Howell inside the park home run, but the Crimson Tide produced their fifth two-out run of the contest on a walk, passed ball and single to right field in the bottom of the fourth, making it a 5-3 game.
The Tigers took the lead with three runs in the fifth, including an RBI from Williams (his sixth in his last five at-bats). Still, Alabama responded with a one-out solo homer in the fifth. Following two scoreless innings, Howell hit his second homer of the contest in the eighth. The Tide retorted with a solo homer to start the home half.
Cody Greenhill, Richard Fitts and Carson Skipper combined to strike out 13 batters in the game, the most Ks for the Tigers since a March 13th game against Little Rock where Auburn also posted 13 punchouts.
The two teams are set to square off in game two Friday at 6 p.m. CT at Sewell-Thomas Stadium.
Do you like this story? The Plainsman doesn't accept money from tuition or student fees, and we don't charge a subscription fee. But you can donate to support The Plainsman.Support The Plainsman