AUBURN, Ala. (EETV)- The Auburn Tigers swept their rivals, the Alabama Crimson Tide in the series at Plainsman Park this past weekend. Sunday's matchup resulted in a no-contest due to weather delays.
The Tigers opened the series with a win over the Crimson Tide Friday night, 3-2. The game was scoreless until the bottom of the fifth until Auburn's Cole Foster launched a two-out single to left-center to score Brody Moore from second. Immediately after, Blake Rambusch hit a first-pitch double to bring in Foster from first and propelled the Tigers to a 2-0 lead.
The sole two runs for Alabama came in the top of the sixth with a single and home run to center, tying the score 2-2. In the bottom of the sixth, with one out and two strikes, Brooks Carlson hit a double down the first-base line to score Bobby Peirce who had stolen second earlier in the at-bat, and secured the 3-2 lead for the Tigers.
"I know it was pretty ugly, but it did the job," Carlson said. "With two strikes right there I was just trying to get a ball hit to the right side. Just kind of short and sweet. I saw the ball deep, but it worked and did the job. I was just glad to help my team."
Auburn's combined pitching efforts were critical in Friday night's win. John Armstrong relieved Mason Barnett and recorded the final two outs in the sixth. The freshman righty ultimately tied a season-high with 2.2 innings pitched in his first career win. He faced the minimum in his outing, striking out three and getting three groundouts.
"It feels good getting my team in a place to win," Armstrong said. "Putting up two zeros is huge, but the win is even better. If we keep winning, nothing else matters."
The relief duo of Armstrong and Burkhalter held the Tide scoreless in the final 3.2 frames. Blake Burkhalter entered in the final frame earning his SEC-best 12th save of the season with two strikeouts before inducing a pop-up to second in shallow right field to end the game.
"It's always good to win the first game of the series," Auburn head coach Butch Thompson said. "We're so engaged. I wish we could go ahead and start a tenth inning or game two of the series."
Auburn secured the series win over Alabama with a 6-4 win on Saturday afternoon, after overcoming a four-run deficit. This marks the Tigers' 18th come-from-behind victory this year.
The Tide scored all four runs in the first inning, but the dominance from the Auburn bullpen held Alabama scoreless the rest of the game.
"Only four baserunners reached the last eight innings," Thompson added. "Our pitching staff just grinded through trying to get us back in this ballgame. Carson Swilling came in and really mixed his pitches before turning it over to Chase Allsup. This was Allsup's moment. We had Burkhalter ready to go, but we ended up not needing him."
Auburn was forced to relieve in the second inning. Tommy Sheehan, Swilling, and Allsup made up the relief effort and held Alabama scoreless and to only two hits with one walk and seven strikeouts, ultimately facing just three batters over the minimum in their eight innings of work.
The Tigers began their comeback campaign in the fourth inning on Peirce's solo home run, his sixth of the season, and made it a 4-1 ballgame. The team then added two more runs in the fifth. With runners on first and second, Sonny DiChiara grounded a ball to first base that was thrown away. On the play, Garrett Farquhar came around to score. Rambusch then lined a ball to center for an RBI single, cutting Alabama's lead to only one run.
As the pitching staff continued to put up zeroes, the offense picked up the momentum. In the bottom of the sixth, Carlson led off with a single and then moved to second base with a sacrifice bunt from Kason Howell. With two outs in the inning, Nate LaRue hit an RBI single to center field to bring Carlson home and tie the game 4-4.
Peirce lined an RBI single into right field to give the Tigers a 5-4 lead. Carlson followed with another single that moved Peirce to third base. Peirce then scored on a wild pitch to increase the Auburn, sealing the score 6-4.
Allsup worked the final two frames in scoreless fashion to earn his second save of the year. The freshman righty allowed one hit with no walks and two strikeouts, ultimately facing the minimum in his two innings of work thanks to a timely double play.
"I've said it once and I'll say it again, we never quit," Peirce said. "We just kept chipping away and battling."
The Tigers were a force on the mound and at the plate. Four Auburn players had multiple hits in the win. Rambusch collected three hits and an RBI on the way to recording his 25th multi-hit game of the season. Peirce contributed two hits, including a home run, and drove in a pair.
Game 3 of the series was ruled a no-contest due to an extended weather delay. The game was suspended in the 5th inning tied 1-1, and Auburn has bases loaded with one out.
The Tigers now sit 1.5 games behind the top spot in the SEC. Auburn is scheduled to travel to Hoover on Tuesday for a mid-week matchup against Samford, then to Lexington for their last series of the regular season against the Kentucky Wildcats.