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Alabama drops game one against rival Auburn


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BBall_AU_UA006The Alabama baseball team took on in-state rival Auburn for the first of a three game series at Sewell-Thomas Stadium on Friday.  There were 6,069 fans in attendance making it the 10th largest crowd to watch a game in Sewell-Thomas Stadium history.  Head football coach Nick Saban threw out the ceremonial first pitch to start the series against the Tigers. But even with the large crowd and Saban’s best wishes were not enough to overcome a couple of early mistakes as Auburn takes game one in the series 2-1.

Junior Spencer Turnbull got the start on the mound for Alabama going seven full innings before being relieved in the eighth by BBall_AU_UA013freshman Nick Eicholtz.  Before Turnbull was relieved he had 6 stikeouts, allowing 4 hits by Auburn but he hit 4 batters on the night and walked 2 more. “It was a good college Friday night game in the SEC, hard fought on both sides,” Alabama head coach Mitch Gaspard said. “Turnbull did a good job, especially after a rough second inning, but he kept fighting and kept competing and got us deep into the ball game. We were able to work out of a couple of jams. The SEC is a tough league and at the end of the day we have lost many games 2-1. Certainly you have to have the pitching to win those games but we have got to generate more offense.”

Auburn made the most of a few mistakes by Alabama and a couple of well-placed hits on their part in the second inning.  Turnbull walked a batter, hit another with a pitch and the Tigers had three of their four hits in the single inning.  Auburn would score two runs which is all they needed to take game one of the series. Alabama did force the Tigers to strand three on base holding the rival to only two runs.

BBall_AU_UA032Alabama brought the game within one in the fourth inning and had an opportunity to score more with bases loaded and one out.  However, Will Haynie bounced one to short-stop allowing Auburn to get out of the inning after making the double play to end the inning.  The Crimson Tide had two more opportunities in the eighth and ninth innings with runners on base but was unable to capitalize. “Where we scored one run in the fourth, we had an opportunity to get more but bounced into the double play,” Gaspard said. “We need to shorten our swings down a little bit and have more competitive at bats. In the ninth inning, we need more Vincent at bats and need more at bats like Hughston where guys really fight to stay on pitches. We have got to do that throughout the course of the game.”

Auburns starting pitcher Dillon Ortman also went seven innings before being relieved by Keegan Thompson.   Ortman allowed five hits but what was more important for the Tigers is he seemed to force Alabama to pop up more than they have in the past.  Alabama had 9 straight outs in the fifth through the seventh innings with pop-ups.

Game two of the series is set to start at 6:05 PM on Saturday

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