MONTGOMERY – The Alabama baseball team had just three hits and committed three errors that helped Auburn score four unearned runs in a 6-3 win for the Tigers in the Max Capital City Classic from Riverwalk Stadium on Tuesday night. With the loss, Alabama falls to 8-4 overall, while Auburn improves to 9-3.
“On our side, you can’t walk eight batters, commit three errors and get three hits and expect to win a ball game,” Alabama Coach Mitch Gaspard said. “The difference in the game was Kendrick, he came in and stabilized the game for them, didn’t allow a hit and pitched really well. It was a rough night from the start. Our guys were amped up and really wanted to win the game tonight, but it just didn’t go our way.”
The game does not count in Southeastern Conference standings.
Auburn reliever Conner Kendrick (1-0) shut down the Tide bats for the final six innings, as he did not allow a hit, walked one and struck out a career-high eight batters to earn his first win of the season. Reliever Tucker Hawley (2-1) took the loss for Alabama after throwing just one inning, allowing three runs (1 earned) on two hits with a walk.
Alabama starting pitcher Taylor Guilbeau lasted four innings, before giving way to Hawley, after allowing one run on two hits with five walks and three strikeouts.
“For us offensively, it’s been all or nothing,” Gaspard said. “We’ve had some good offensive games, and then we’ve had three or four games that we have laid an egg, kind of like tonight. When you have four young guys in the lineup who are still learning their way, that’s where you expect the older guys to set up and deliver in those spots. There’s no excuse. We’ve played the same guys every night now and we have to be better offensively than we are right now. We’re a better ball club that what we showed out there tonight.”
Of the three Alabama hits, Austen Smith delivered an RBI double to spark a three-run fourth inning for the Tide. Andrew Miller and Georgie Salem had one hit each in the game and Brett Booth was walked twice in four trips to the plate and scored a run.
Auburn jumped out to a 1-0 lead when Jordan Ebert delivered a sacrifice fly to right field of Guilbeau to score Garrett Cooper, who walked with one out, from third.
Alabama answered in the bottom half of the inning, scoring three times thanks to two walks, two Tiger errors and one hit, a double of the left field wall by Smith that plated Booth from second. Kyle Overstreet reached on an error that allowed Smith to score, then another error on the Auburn third baseman allowed the Tide’s third run of the frame, making the score 3-1 in favor of the Tide.
After the UA took the lead, Auburn answered with three runs in the top of the fifth to take a 4-3 lead. The Tigers got the first two runners aboard, then after a sac bunt, a groundout by Collin Wacker got the Tigers within one, 3-2. An error on the Alabama shortstop allowed the game-tying run to score, and then an error on the UA third baseman gave the Tigers the lead for good.
Auburn tacked on two more unearned runs in the ninth when Cooper delivered a two-out bases loaded single of Justin Kamplain to make the score 6-3. Both runs in the ninth were charged to reliever Keaton Haack, who gave the Tide 3.2 innings out of the pen, allowing two runs on no hits with a walk and three strikeouts.
Alabama will continue its non-conference schedule on Friday with the first game of a three-game series at No. 5 Louisville. First pitch for the series opener is scheduled for 2 p.m. CT, from Jim Patterson Stadium. The series continues on Saturday at noon CT, and wraps up on Sunday at noon CT.