April 20, 2007
AUBURN, Ala. -
Paul Burnside continued his current run of strong pitching and Mike Bianucci drilled two home runs over the wall in left as Auburn defeated Alabama, 12-5, in the opening game of a three-game series at Plainsman Park on Friday night.
"It always starts on the mound and Paul was good for us once again on a Friday night," Auburn Head Coach Tom Slater said. "Our kids play with a lot of confidence when Paul takes the mound because they know they are going to get a solid outing from him every time out."
Burnside, who has settled in as Auburn's Friday night starter over the last four weeks, went eight complete innings to pick up his third straight win and seventh of the season against just one loss. The sophomore righty from Montgomery allowed five runs (four earned) on six hits and three walks while fanning seven.
"I felt pretty good tonight throughout the whole game," Burnside said. "As soon as I gave up the two runs in the top of the second inning, the team came back and puts up eight runs and you can't help but be confident after an inning like that."
Bianucci had the second two-homer night of his career as he belted a solo shot with two down in the sixth to make it 10-2 Auburn and then smacked a two-run shot with two down in the eighth to make it 12-5. He finished the game 3-for-5 with three runs scored and four RBI, his third four-RBI game this season.
Alabama (22-17, 7-9 SEC) got two runs in the second on a Brandon Belcher two-run homer to right but Burnside settled in from there, not allowing another run until the top of the seventh.
Auburn (26-15, 5-11 SEC) turned the tide in the bottom half of the second as Ross Smith (1-for-4) smacked his second homer of the year, a three-run shot to left to give Auburn a lead it would not relinquish as the Tigers scored eight runs on six hits in the inning.
Luke Greinke (3-for-5, 2 R, 3 RBI) extended his personal- and team-best hitting streak to 16 games (14 SEC games) with his two-RBI single in the second to make it a 5-2 game before Bianucci singled him in to make it 6-2 with just one out in the inning.
The Tigers put the final two runs of the inning up on a passed ball and a Joseph Sanders (0-for-2, BB, RBI) sacrifice fly to center.
Miers Quigley (4-3) took the loss for Alabama, allowing eight runs (seven earned) on seven hits and two walks while lasting just 1.2 innings.
The Tigers stole four bases on the night with Greinke stealing two and Bruce Edwards (2-for-5) and Robert Brooks (1-for-3, BB, R) each swiping one apiece. That gives Auburn 88 steals on the year and Edwards 25.
The 12 runs was the most runs scored by Auburn in a game against Alabama since a 15-4 win in the opener in 1999, a series that Auburn went on to win.
Auburn has outscored its opponents a combined 22-2 in the first three innings of the last three Friday night games, all Auburn wins.
The two teams will play the second game of the series at 3pm CT on Saturday in the SEC-TV game of the week. Auburn sends Fr. RHP Taylor Thompson (4-1) to the mound while Alabama will counter with Sr. RHP Bernard Robert (4-4).