Hoover, Ala. - Seventh-seeded Alabama scored three times in the eighth inning en route to a 6-3 win over the 10th-seeded Auburn Tigers in the first round of the Southeastern Conference Baseball Tournament on Tuesday afternoon from the Hoover Met. The game-winning run came on a bases loaded infield single by Chance Vincent. Alabama reliever Jay Shaw threw five scoreless innings to help the Crimson Tide advance to Wednesday’s game against second-ranked LSU.
With the bases loaded in the bottom of the eighth inning, Vincent hit a chopper up the middle off Auburn closer Terrance Dedrick that second baseman Jordan Ebert couldn’t handle and Ben Moore scored the go-ahead run. Alabama then got a sacrifice fly by Kenny Roberts then a wild pitch by Dedrick allowed the third run of the inning to score.
“It was a big game for both teams today,” Alabama head coach Mitch Gaspard said. “One of the things we’ve been doing over the past couple of weeks is picking each other up. Today, Jay Shaw was the story, coming in after Kamplain had a rough start. Jay was tremendous. It was the longest outing he’s had with us. Defensively, we did a really good job. We missed a couple opportunities early, but we responded in the eighth. It was a good team win for us, we battled hard.”
With the Tide leading 6-3, Ray Castillo entered in the ninth inning to shut the door, as he retired the side in order to record his 11th save of the season. With the save, Castillo matches Lance Cormier’s freshman record for saves in a season.
Shaw (2-1) threw a career-high 5.0 innings to get his second win of the season. With five scoreless innings on Tuesday, Shaw has allowed just one run in his last 15.1 innings pitched. After starter Justin Kamplain allowed three runs in the third inning, Shaw entered in the fourth and gave up four hits with a walk and a strikeout.
Offensively, Alabama had nine hits against the Tigers, as Austen Smith led the way with a 3-for-4, with an RBI and a run scored. Ben Moore was 2-for-4, with a pair of rally starting singles, scored twice and had an RBI. Brett Booth was 2-for-4 with an RBI and a run scored and Roberts walked twice, scored once and had an RBI.
The Tide touched up Auburn starter Conner Kendrick for three runs (two earned) on six hits with two walks and a strikeout. Tigers’ reliever Reid Carter (1-2) took the loss after allowing a run on a hit with a walk and three strikeouts in 2.1 innings.
The Tide got on the board in the first inning without producing a hit. After Roberts walked to open the game, he reached second on a throwing error by the Auburn third baseman on a bunt attempt by Georgie Salem. After Kyle Overstreet moved the runners over with a sacrifice bunt, Roberts scored when Moore grounded out to shortstop with one out.
Auburn scored three times in the third inning thanks to a pair of walks and two hits against Kamplain. After Cullen Wacker and Garrett Cooper walked with one out, Patrick Savage doubled down the left field line to score Wacker to tie the game at 1-1. Dan Glevenyak followed with a sacrifice fly to right field, then an infield single by Jordan Ebert allowed Cooper to score, giving the Tigers a 3-1 lead.
Following the three-run third inning for Auburn, Alabama made a pitching change, ending Kamplain’s day. Kamplain allowed three runs on four hits with two walks and a pair of strikeouts.
After Shaw kept the Tigers off the scoreboard in the fourth, Alabama used three singles to score a run in the bottom half of the inning. Moore and Smith singled to put runners on second and third with one out, and Booth followed with a bloop single to center field to drive in Moore, making the score 3-2. Andrew Miller ended the threat when he grounded into an inning ending double play.
The Tide scored again in the sixth when Moore started a rally with a leadoff single. White followed with a single to put runners on the corners for Smith, who doubled down the line in left field and to drive in Moore and tie the score at 3-3. The RBI double by Smith ended the day for Auburn starter, Kendrick, who was replaced by Reid Carter. After Carter struck out Booth for the first out of the inning, Miller was intentionally walked to load the bases. Vincent’s grounder back to the pitcher forced out White at the plate then Roberts grounded out to first base to end the inning with only one run scoring.
In a very similar situation in the eighth inning, Smith and Booth singled and doubled, respectively, to open the inning. Miller was intentionally walked again to load the bases for Vincent. This time Vincent delivered an infield single to plate Smith and start a three-run outburst by the Tide. Roberts followed with a sac fly to drive in Booth and a wild pitch by Dedrick allowed Miller to score and stretch the lead to 6-3.
Alabama and LSU, the two seed in the tournament, will take the field around 12:30 p.m. CST on Wednesday. The Tide is slated to start right handed pitcher Charley Sullivan (5-5, 3.58). The Tigers are expected to start LHP Cody Glenn (6-2, 2.64).
Courtesy UA Media Relations