May 8, 2016
TUSCALOOSA, Ala. – Alabama baseball fell, 8-1, to Auburn in Sunday’s series finale, as the Tigers hopped out to an early lead to claim the win on getaway day. Following the loss, the Crimson Tide moves to 27-21 overall and 12-12 in Southeastern Conference play.
“Give Auburn credit today, as they jumped on (Nick Eicholtz) pretty quick,” said Alabama head coach Mitch Gaspard. “(Anfernee) Grier and (Melvin) Gray popped the first couple pitches they saw, and then (Niko) Buentello who had a really good weekend, followed suit. You look up after three innings and you’re down 5-0. I think they had a little flurry right there early and kind of jumped on us.”
Auburn got out to an early lead, scoring five across the first two innings to build a lead that the Crimson Tide could not come back from. Crimson Tide starter Nick Eicholtz (3-3) suffered the loss, tossing 6.1 innings and allowing six runs (four earned) on six hits and three walks with three strikeouts. Eicholtz gave up five across the first three innings, but bounced back to retire 10 of the final 11 batters he faced before exiting the game. The Tigers added single runs off the Alabama bullpen in each of the final three innings to secure the 8-1 victory.
Auburn began the game with a two-run first inning. Grier’s leadoff single was immediately followed by a double from Gray to make it 1-0 after two batters. One out later, a sacrifice fly to left by Buentello brought across the man from third to give the Tigers the early 2-0 lead.
In the third, Auburn extended its lead with a three-run inning to make it a 5-0 affair. A leadoff single and then a walk put two on before a bases-clearing double brought in the pair and an errant throw allowed the batter to move to third. A walk in the next at-bat put runners on the corners before the two runners attempted the double steal, bringing across the inning’s final run.
Alabama scored its first run of the day in the bottom of the fifth. Chance Vincent led off the frame with a single and advanced to second on a throwing error by the AU pitcher. A groundout to the right side moved Vincent to third before a wild pitch allowed him to score, making it 5-1 after five innings. Auburn would widen its lead with single runs in the seventh, eighth and ninth to make it an 8-1 game, the eventual final.
In total, Alabama collected 34 hits on the weekend including 12 on Sunday. The 34 knocks is the most across a three-game series for the Crimson Tide this season.
The Crimson Tide will travel to Fayetteville next weekend for a three-game series with Arkansas from May 13-15. The two teams are scheduled for a 6:30 p.m. CT start on Friday with a 6 p.m. CT firs pitch to follow on Saturday. Sunday’s series finale is set for a 1 p.m. start on getaway day. All three contests will air live on SECN+.
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