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A spirit that is not afraid

Alabama runs away with series finale after electric back half

Ike Irish running to first base in the game against Alabama on May 16, 2023.
Ike Irish running to first base in the game against Alabama on May 16, 2023.

After securing the series on Friday night, the Auburn Tigers (27-26, 8-22 SEC) hoped to sweep their in-state rivals, the Alabama Crimson Tide (33-21, 13-17 SEC). However, the Tide had a different plan and claimed game three 12-5 – halting Auburn’s four-game win streak. 

The Tigers gained an early lead over the Tide, scoring four runs by the fourth. After trailing 4-1, Alabama decided they had enough and tied the game 4-4 after the fifth. 

The Tide’s offense wasn’t done and added four runs in the sixth, which the Tigers could only respond with one run in the seventh. 

Fast forward to the top of the ninth, Bama struck again, scoring four additional runs to make it a 12-5 game. 

Although the Crimson Tide began the series finale slow at the plate, they dominated the Tigers on the offensive front. Alabama logged 12 runs, 15 hits – one double and one home run – and 12 RBIs in 37 at-bats. Whereas, the Tigers had five runs, 10 hits – two doubles, one triple and one home run – and five RBIs in 33 at-bats. 

Thompson’s bullpen performance started strong but lost some ground as Bama’s offense gained momentum. Utilizing seven pitchers tonight, the Tigers’ pitching staff recorded 11 strikeouts, six walks, one balk, four hit-by-pitches and one wild pitch. 

“I think we all know the biggest challenge that we had this year was being able to settle ballgames on the mound, and this whole sport is built around that,” said head coach Butch Thompson. “So that was our biggest challenge, and it continued to be one all the way up to this last ballgame.”

RHP Christian Herberholz started on the bump for the Tigers. Pitching 4.2 innings, Herberholz recorded three strikeouts and three walks – allowing six hits and four runs. 

Coming to Herberholz’s relief in the fifth, RHP Dylan Watts briefly appeared on the mound, pitching 0.1 innings. Facing five total batters, Watts allowed three hits and three earned runs – punching only one strikeout. 

RHP Ben Schorr and RHP Conner McBride made their presence known on the mound. The pair collectively contributed three strikeouts and two walks, allowing three hits and one run in two innings pitched. 

RHP Will Cannon relieved McBride in the eighth to pitch one inning, where he allowed three hits and four runs and recorded one strikeout and one walk. 

After a 2.5 hour-long rain delay, LHP Griffin Graves took over the mound with no outs on the board and struck out the three batters he faced.

“I really like Griffin Graves there at the end,” Thompson said. “It was good to get him some experience, face some lefties, and come out throwing enough strikes. So, hopefully, that’s another step for the future there.”

Although the Tigers couldn’t secure their final game, they wrapped up their season with two conference series over Missouri and Alabama – which was a confidence booster for Thompson’s club after their toilsome season this year. 

“​​This was a huge learning year,” Thompson said. “We need to learn so we don’t repeat. It’s coming up with a plan, and your program should have a chip on its shoulder moving forward.”

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Caitlyn Griffin | Sports Reporter

Caitlyn Griffin is a sophomore from Huntsville, Alabama, majoring in journalism. She started with The Plainsman in fall 2022. 

Twitter: @caitlyngrif99

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