Auburn Falls To No. 23 Alabama, 6-5
April 3, 2010
TUSCALOOSA, Ala. - Auburn built a four-run lead after two-and-a-half innings but No. 23 Alabama put up six unanswered runs to claim the series win with a 6-5 victory on Saturday at Sewell-Thomas Stadium. Kevin Patterson was 2-for-3 with a pair of solo home runs and Cole Nelson pitched another solid game for Auburn but Auburn couldn't sit the Alabama hitters down when it counted, falling to 17-10, 4-4 SEC.
"It was a typical SEC game. You are never out of it and you are never too far ahead," Auburn Head Coach John Pawlowski said.
Auburn wasted little time in getting to Alabama starter Jimmy Nelson, tagging the right-hander for four runs in the first three innings and knocking him out of the contest with two on and none out in the fifth after he had allowed five hits and four walks. Patterson's first blast opened up the scoring as he crushed his fifth home run of the year down the right field line to start the second.
Justin Fradejas (1-for-4) and Justin Hargett (2-for-4, RBI) each followed Patterson's homer with singles, with Hargett's bunt single on a squeeze play scoring Fradejas after he stole second and went to third on a wild pitch. Casey McElroy (1-for-4, RBI) then singled home Hargett to put Auburn up, 3-0, after the second.
Patterson's next at bat had the same result as the first as he launched his sixth home run of the year out to left with two outs in the third, crushing a 3-0 offering from Alabama's Nelson.
Alabama (19-7, 4-4 SEC) answered with a three-run bottom of the third as Ross Wilson (1-for-5) answered Patterson's second blast with a three-run home run of his own, his sixth home run of the season.
"Cole gives us a chance every time he goes out there. He throws three pitches for strikes and he has a good feel for pitching. He made one mistake today on a ball that ran back to the middle of the plate, but other than that he has gotten us deep in just about every game and that's what you look for," Pawlowski said.
Both pitching staffs kept the other team off the board in the middle three innings before Alabama broke through with a three-run seventh off of Auburn's Nelson and Austin Hubbard. Taylor Dugas (1-for-2, 3 BB) hit a one-out chopper over Hunter Morris at first to knock Nelson from the game, bringing Hubbard into the contest. Josh Rutledge (1-for-5) greeted Hubbard with a single to left before Hubbard struck out Wilson. A walk to Clay Jones (3-for-3) loaded the bases for Jake Smith (0-for-3), who worked a full count before laying off a pitch just off the corner to walk in a run. Jon Kelton's (3-for-4) flair single to center scored two before Hubbard fanned Cal Tinsley to end the inning.
Hubbard (2-1) was tagged for the loss as he allowed his inherited runner to score to take Nelson out of the decision and then two more runners in 1 2/3 innings, allowing three hits and three walks while striking out three.
Auburn nearly tied the game up in the ninth off of Alabama's Nathan Kilcrease as Dan Gamache just missed a game-tying home run with a man on and two out, though his liner fell just shy of the wall and he was ultimately stranded at second to end the game to give Kilcrease his first save of the season.
Jason Townsend (1-0) earned the win for Alabama, throwing two full innings and allowing no runs on a hit and two walks, striking out three.
Auburn will try to salvage game three of the series at 2pm CT on Sunday when it sends Jr. LHP Grant Dayton (3-1, 5.70) to the mound. Alabama has yet to decide between RHP Tyler White (2-2, 2.84) and LHP Taylor Wolfe (2-0, 3.15) as its starter.
Alabama 6, Auburn 5 (Apr 03, 2010 at Tuscaloosa, AL)
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