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Alabama sweeps Auburn in Saturday Twin Bill

Josh Anthony went 4-for-9 with 2 RBI and a homerun in the doubleheader against Alabama

(Photo: Auburn Athletics/Wade Rackley)

GAME ONE: Alabama 4 Auburn 3

Alabama picked up their first win over an SEC opponent since April 1 against Arkansas, snapping a 13-game conference losing streak by taking game one over Auburn, 4-3.

The Crimson Tide had nine hits in the win, led by Chandler Taylor’s three. He went deep on Auburn starter Keegan Thompson twice in the game, both solo home runs. The Montgomery native led off the 2nd inning by hitting his first home run to dead center field, scoring the first of two runs in the inning. His second home run came with two outs and no one on in the seventh inning to extend Alabama’s lead to 4-1. Alabama scored twice more in the game, a single by Chandler Avant in the second inning and a double by Connor Short in the third.

Auburn answered Alabama’s two-run second inning by cutting the lead in half on an RBI single by Jonah Todd. After recording two outs to open the inning, Alabama starter Jake Walters allowed three consecutive batters reach base, Jeremy Johnson and Blake Logan on walks, the other on a single that bounced out of the glove of Walters by Bo Decker, and rolled to shortstop. Todd singled in the next at-bat to score Johnson, cutting the score to 2-1. The Tigers began a rally in the bottom of the seventh by scoring two runs on three hits. Logan led of the inning on a single, and later came around to score on a Josh Anthony double with two outs. A Conor Davis single plated Anthony in the next at-bat, shortening Alabama’s lead to 4-3.

Auburn had “walk-off” on their minds in the ninth inning, as the Alabama infield allowed two baserunners in the inning on errors. A double-play and a strikeout preserved the Crimson Tide lead, and the win.

Keegan Thompson fell to 5-3 on the season, he allowed eight hits in eight innings of work, allowing four runs (two earned), striking out two and walking four on 104 pitches. Eight innings ties a season-high for Thompson, and 104 pitches is the second most he has thrown this season.

The top of the lineup produced the most for Auburn in game one, with Todd, Anthony, and Davis each picking up an RBI in the game. Eight players recorded one hit each.

GAME TWO: Alabama 7 Auburn 6

The second game of the doubleheader saw Auburn match Alabama on the scoreboard a handful of times, but they could not seem to get over the hill. The Tigers fought back to tie Alabama twice in the game, but never gained a lead as they fell in game two, 7-6.

The Crimson Tide scored two runs in the top of the third inning on an error by Jay Estes at 2nd base that allowed Connor Short and Walker McCleney to score. Short reached on a single to center field, while McCleney hit a fly ball to right field, just out of the reach of right fielder Bo Decker. Auburn answered in the bottom half of the fourth inning on a solo home run by Dylan Ingram, his eighth of the season, and a sacrifice fly with one out by Jeremy Johnson.

Both teams added a run to the scoreboard in the seventh inning to make the score 3-3. Cobie Vance singled home Chandler Avant in the top half of the inning. Josh Anthony tied the game for the second time on a solo home run that bounced off of the videoboard in left center field.

Alabama put the dagger in the game over the seventh and eighth innings, by scoring two runs in both innings, extending the lead to 7-3. After Kyle Kaufman reached base on a single, Sam Finnerty doubled on a line drive to right field that was deep enough to score Finnerty. Finnerty came around to score with one out in the inning on a suicide squeeze bunt by Walker McCleney. The Alabama eighth inning began with two runners reaching on consecutive errors. Hunter Alexander became the third Tide baserunner with a one out single. With one out and three on, Kyle Kaufman delivered a bouncer to left field that scored Alex Webb and Cobie Vance.

For the second time on Saturday, Auburn clawed back to within one run by scoring two runs in the eighth inning, and once more in the ninth inning, with Jeremy Johnson being involved with all three runs scored. Johnson reached on a fielder’s choice in the bottom of the eighth inning with two on, scoring Josh Anthony from 3rd base. He later scored on a single by Jonah Todd, cutting the lead to 7-5. His third and final RBI came with two outs in the bottom of the ninth on a single that just snuck through the right side, scoring Ingram.

Down to their final out with two on and down by one run, Auburn was unable to finish the job as pinch hitter Blake Logan struck out on a 3-2 count, ending the game with Alabama grabbing the 7-6 win.

A handful of factors for Auburn led to the doubleheader sweep for Alabama, including five errors made and stranding 19 runners on base. On a day where it seems only the minimum could be accomplished, the absence of Daniel Robert and Luke Jarvis, two of Auburn’s key run producers over the last month, did not help matters. Robert was scratched from the starting lineup very close to first pitch of game one, and Jarvis exited in the fifth inning of game one, both due to injury complications. The Auburn lineup was stretched thin due to those two players not able to perform at 100%.

#4 Auburn looks to pick up one win in the series, as game three between these bitter rivals is set for 4 PM Sunday afternoon at Plainsman Park.

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