Backed by quality pitching, Auburn picked up a 5-4 win over Alabama Friday in Tuscaloosa.
Starter Jack Owen picked up his first win of the season, as he pitched seven innings allowing three runs and striking out eight batters. Carson Swilling came in for Owen in the eighth inning and was able to earn his first collegiate save.
"Jack just did a great job and gave Swilling a short rope, something that he could finish," said head coach Butch Thompson. "It was nice to only use two guys tonight and we have an opportunity to come out and win a series tomorrow."
Owen and Swilling combined for 11 strikeouts on the day. This is the second game in a row that the Tigers have reached double-digit strikeouts.
"It feels really good," Owen said. "I'm glad we could do it for the whole team. It was a big game that we needed to win. Swilling comes in and does his job and the offense did a really good job. Steven was working really well with me tonight and it so it was a lot of fun and I'm glad we got the "W."
Kason Howell led the Auburn offense on Friday with a multi-hit game. Howell is a combined 5-for-8 in the two games against Alabama.
"It was good to finally get a result that we know we should have had in the past," Howell said. "All the hard work we've put in and all the close calls. Tonight just felt like it was our night to get what we honestly deserved after everything we've been through and it felt really good."
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Auburn started the scoring in the first inning with a Tyler Miller solo home run. Auburn added two runs in the second when Bryson Ware hit a two-run home run. In that same inning, Howell hit a single to get the 100th hit of his career.
Alabama put up a run in the bottom half of the second to make the score 3-1, and neither team scored again until Steven Williams hit a home run in the fifth to make the score 4-1. This was Williams’ third straight game with a home run.
Alabama put up two runs in the bottom half of the fifth, but Owen settled down and threw two scoreless innings before Swilling came in.
Auburn added its last run in the eighth off an Alabama error. The Crimson Tide were able to score the game's final run in the ninth, but it wasn’t enough for them to overcome to Auburn lead.
The final game of the series will be on Saturday at 4 p.m. CST. The game will air on SEC Network-plus.
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