March 15, 2011
MONTGOMERY, Ala. - Auburn's pitching staff held Alabama to a season-low four hits and Dan Gamache homered and was named the game's MVP as the No. 24 Auburn baseball team (12-5) won its third consecutive Capital City Classic on Tuesday night at Riverwalk Stadium, downing Alabama, 2-1.
"Both teams played an outstanding game. Runs were tough to come by," Auburn Head Coach John Pawlowski said. "I was very pleased with what our guys did. Will Irvin went out and did a great job, then Bradley Hendrix and Andrew Morris. Then Zach Blatt shut the door. Anytime you can win a one-run ball game you are doing something right and these guys made a lot of quality pitches today to help us win."
The Auburn pitching staff allowed two first-inning hits which led to a run but then smothered the Alabama (11-6) offense, allowing a single in the third and a single in the eighth. The staff, which also surrendered just four walks, scattering them throughout the first five innings, was simply dominant from the sixth inning on, allowing just the eighth-inning hit over the final 4 1/3 innings.
Blatt threw the final two innings, entering with a man on first and none out in the eighth, to pick up his first save of the season after picking up Sunday's win. After surrendering a sac bunt to the first hitter he faced to put the tying run in scoring position, the junior induced Jared Reaves into a line-drive double play to end the inning. He then sat the 4-5-6 hitters in the Alabama batting order down in order in the ninth, striking out the first two and getting a groundout to cement the game.
"My first three outings kind of put me in the dumps a little bit, I was definitely down in the hole, but to get back out there and get things rolling in the right direction feels good," Blatt said.
After allowing the run in the bottom of the first, Auburn answered in the second with all the runs it would need in the second. Gamache led off the inning with a home run to right, his second of the year, to tie the game at 1-1. Wes Gilmer (2-for-4) followed with a single and then stole second, his third of the year. After Alabama starter Taylor Wolfe (1-2) got the next two outs, Brooks Beisner laced a double into center, scoring Gilmer with what would be the deciding run.
"I have been watching what I swing at," Gamache said. "At the beginning of the season I was chasing a lot of pitches and hitting balls out of the zone. Tonight I guessed he would throw me an inside fastball because that's what he threw to the first two hitters of the game and I guessed right."
Hendrix (1-0) was credited with the win, throwing the third, fourth and fifth innings, allowing a hit and three walks. He had to work around a leadoff walk and single in the third but then sat Alabama down in order in the fourth and worked around two walks in the fifth.
Morris sat the first six Alabama hitters he faced in order before allowing a leadoff single in the eighth and giving way to Blatt.
"We were up by one run when I came in and just getting ahead of guys was the biggest thing," Morris said. "Once we got ahead everything was on our shoulders and we could take control with every pitch."
Irvin allowed one run on two hits and a walk in the start for Auburn, pitching the first two innings.
Alabama's first-inning run on Austin Smith's RBI single was just the fifth run Auburn has allowed in a first inning this season.
Gilmer had a spectacular night at third, making five defensive assists, including a crucial one in the third with men on second and third and one out. His grab of a Austin Smith grounder and his look-back of Taylor Dugas at third maintained the Auburn lead as Dugas scrambled back to the back and Gilmer recorded the out at first.
Blake Austin, making his second start behind the plate, threw out Dugas trying to steal second in the fifth.
The game was played in front of a Capital City Classic record crowd of 7,492.
Auburn beings SEC play this weekend at home when it plays host to No. 9 Arkansas at Plainsman Park. Game times are set for 6pm on Friday, 3pm on Saturday and 1pm on Sunday.
Auburn 2, Alabama 1 (Mar 15, 2011 at Montgomery, AL)
Auburn.............. 020 000 000 - 2 7 0 (12-5)
Alabama............. 100 000 000 - 1 4 0 (11-6)
Win-Bradley Hendrix(1-0) Save-Zach Blatt(1) Loss-Taylor Wolfe(1-2) T-2:09 A-7492
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