After losing an extra-inning heartbreaker Wednesday to No. 1 seed Florida, Alabama found themselves in an elimination game against their in-state rivals Auburn. Alabama was able to shake off a disappointing loss and defeat Auburn 7-4 on Thursday afternoon to secure their 40th win of the season, knocking the Tigers out of the SEC Tournament.
With the memory of blowing a three-run lead in the 11th inning against Florida Wednesday night fresh on Alabama’s mind, the Crimson Tide found themselves in a similar situation against Auburn. Heading into Auburn’s half of the ninth inning, Alabama held a 7-3 lead and found themselves having to hold off a late rally from the Tigers to secure the win.
Less than 24 hours after hitting a three-run double that gave Alabama the lead in extra innings against Florida that was eventually blown in the 11th, Tommy Seidl stayed hot at the plate with a solo shot in the bottom of the first inning to give the Crimson Tide an early 1-0 advantage. In the bottom of the third, with the game tied at one run apiece, Seidl used his legs to hustle out a double on a shallow blooper to right and eventually scored on a sacrifice fly by Drew Williamson to regain the lead for Alabama 2-1. Seidl followed up his double the next inning with an RBI single to left to extend the Crimson Tide lead to 3-1, but he was removed from the game as a precautionary measure with a lower-body injury. Through the first three games of the SEC tournament, Seidl is 6-for-12 with two doubles, a home run and five RBIs.
Alabama got another quality start from senior Garrett McMillan, as he pitched six strong innings giving up three earned runs on five hits and striking out a season-high eight batters on Thursday to record his third win in a row. Over his last three games, McMillan has surrendered just five runs and struck out 18 hitters over 17 and two-thirds innings for the Crimson Tide.
Going into the ninth with a score of 7-3, Alabama freshman Riley Quick gave up an RBI single and eventually brought the tying run to the plate by way of a walk. After blowing a big lead last night, interim coach Jason Jackson has to pull Quick and bring in Hunter Hoopes to close the game out. Hoopes was able to get the final two outs to record his first save of the year and advance Alabama to Friday of the SEC tournament.
Alabama will play the loser of No. 1 Florida and No. 4 Vanderbilt Friday night for a spot in the SEC baseball tournament semifinals.
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