Tide’s Comeback Comes Up Short
Following a walk-off win in Thursday night's game, the Crimson Tide fell short in securing the series win over Auburn Friday night, losing 5-4.
Dylan Smith took the mound for the Crimson Tide to begin the game, going for seven innings, allowing four runs and striking out eight batters. In the first two innings, Auburn hitters were able to find success off of Smith, with Tyler Miller and Bryson Ware hitting deep homers off the junior pitcher to jump out to an early 3-0 lead.
Smith settled down some in the third and fourth innings, but ended up allowing another homer to Steven Williams in the top of the fifth, extending Auburn's lead to three.
The bottom of the fifth inning was when Alabama finally woke up; three of the Tide's first four batters of found their way on base, loading them for Zane Denton who stepped up to the plate and delivered, driving home one run to bring the Tide within two. With runners on first and third, Sam Praytor, after struggling most of the night leading up to the fifth, came up to bat and delivered a liner to left field, driving home another Alabama run and bringing the deficit to just one.
The Tigers kept Alabama at bay; however, working off of the pitching effort from senior LHP Jack Owen. Owen finished the night with eight strike outs, three of which came in the bottom of the sixth inning. In relief for Owen was freshman Carson Swilling, who came in to close out the final two innings for the Tigers, allowing just one more run and adding three strikeouts.
Connor Shamblin came in to relieve Smith in the eighth inning, but made a crucial throwing error on a bunt from Judd Ward. Shamblin fielded the bunt and rather than going after the force out at first, overthrew his third baseman and allowed another run to score, extending the Tiger lead back to two. To close out the game, Shamblin pitched well, walking just one batter and adding two strike outs, but the Crimson Tide bats were unable to wake back up for the final few innings.
"I think they played their A game and we played our B game," Coach Brad Bohannon said following the loss, "I thought we gave some at-bats away in the middle of the game and we didn't get to their bullpen soon enough. I'm excited to get to the park tomorrow and get to see Connor Preilipp back out there."
Alabama's big hitters struggled to find success, with Owen Diodati going 0-for-4 on the night and Sam Praytor finishing with just one hit. An early deficit was too much for the Tide to overcome, and it will look to bounce back on Saturday with the return of ace pitcher Connor Prielipp.