March 28, 2013
By Charles Goldberg
AUBURN -- Miscues and missed opportunities Thursday night left Auburn baseball coach John Pawlowski looking for a bounce-back effort in Game 2 of a three-game series with Alabama.
Game 1 went to the Crimson Tide, which took advantage of two errors in the third for a 6-2 victory in front of a season-high crowd of 4,043 in Plainsman Park. Auburn, now 15-12 overall and 0-7 in the SEC, will try again at 6 Friday night before finishing up the series at 3 Saturday. Alabama improved to 17-10 overall and 6-1 in the league.
Alabama scored four unearned runs in the decisive third to take a 5-0 lead. Auburn had its chances in the bottom of the inning, but left the bases loaded, and had the bases loaded again in the ninth, but Ryan Tella struck out as the potential tying run.
Pawlowski said he'd tell his Tigers to "keep going."
"That's all we can do. There's no magical formula, or anything magical we can say, other than if we keep getting them on that sooner or later we're going to bust through with some big innings," he said.
Auburn's Conner Kendrick, who was making his first start of the season, allowed 6 runs in 5 1/3 innings, but only 2 runs were earned.
"Overall, I was encouraged by what I saw. He'll certainly get another opportunity out there. I thought we battled," Pawlowski said.
Pawlowski said the Tigers couldn't get past the mistake-prone third.
"That kind of set the tone," he said. "We did a good job pitching-wise except for one inning. We mishandled two balls and they put four runs on the board like that.
"We had opportunities to score runs with the bases loaded a couple of times, but unfortunately we weren't able to come up with anything."
Brett Boothand Austen Smith each drove in two for Alabama. Auburn's RBIs came from Patrick Savage and Blake Austin, who hit his first home run of the season.
Auburn will send Michael O'Neal (4-2, 2.78 ERA) against Jon Keller (3-2, 2.78 ERA) in Friday's 6 p.m. game.
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