Tigers Fall to Alabama In Second Game Of SEC Tournament
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Gainesville, FL -- Auburn posted a four-run sixth inning but it wasn't enough as ninth-ranked Alabama upended the 18th-ranked Tigers, 9-5, Friday at the Florida Softball Stadium in the second round of play the Southeastern Conference Tournament.
Auburn's loss drops the Tigers (48-15 overall) into a game against eighth-seed LSU Saturday at 1:30 p.m. EST. Auburn swept LSU in three straight, April 23-24, at Jane B. Moore Field. LSU defeated tournament-host Florida, 9-1, in the second game of the day to remain alive.
The winner of the game between No. 3 seed Auburn and No. 8 seed LSU advances to the 7:30 p.m. contest at the Florida Softball Stadium.
"It's a tough road now," Auburn head coach Tina Deese said. "We will have to take it one game at a time. It's just going to be tougher this way."
The Tigers posted three hits in the sixth inning to pull within two, 6-4. Kristina McCain and Ashley Griffin led off with singles, then saw a walk to Holly Currie load the bases. Two batters later, Paige Jones walked, scoring Auburn's first run of the game.
Sara Ghezzi then singled down the left field line, scoring Griffin.
Next, Beth DiPietro, who entered in relief of Currie in the second inning, grounded out to second, scoring Robin Martin - pinch running for Currie - from third. Brittany Scott, who was pinch running for Jones, ended the scoring by coming home on a wild pitch with Lolani Alvarez at the plate.
The Auburn scoring wasn't enough to overcome four Alabama runs in the second and two more in the fifth.
Alabama capitalized on an Auburn error in the second inning to score the first run of the game, then added three more to take an early 4-0 lead. The Crimson Tide posted four hits in the frame, all singles.
The Crimson Tide added two more in the fifth when Staci Ramsey singled up the middle, scoring Jordan Praytor from third and Ashley Courtney from second.
Alabama (55-12) finished off its scoring with a three-run sixth before
Auburn scored one last run in the seventh.
Currie fell to 23-9 on the season after allowing three runs and three hits in 1 2/3 innings of work. Stephanie VanBrakle picked up the victory for the Crimson Tide, improving to 28-5, after working 5 2/3 innings.
She allowed five hits and four runs.
Chrissy Owens came on in relief of VanBrakle in the sixth and earned her 11th save of the season.
Ashley Griffin paced the Tigers with two hits with three other Auburn players posting one apiece.
Auburn and LSU square off in the second game of the day Saturday at 1:30 p.m. EST. Catch the game live on the Internet at www.auburntigers.com or in the Auburn area on WANI-AM (1400).
TIGER NOTES: Sara Dean extended her season-high hit streak to 14 games with a single to center field in the first inning ... Dean hit in 15 straight in 2004, from Feb. 13 to March 14 ... Dean also picked off her second runner in as many games and her 10th this season ... She caught Capper Reed at first for the second out of the third inning ... Auburn fell to 4-3 all-time in second round games at the SEC Tournament ... The Tigers are also now 1-4 all-time against Alabama in the SEC Tournament, losing the last four.