May 14, 2011 11:07:00 PM
AUBURN, Ala. -- The University of Alabama baseball team couldn''t overcome a five-run seventh inning Saturday as Auburn University held on for an 8-7 win in Game 2 of a Southeastern Conference doubleheader at Plainsman Park.
Following Auburn''s sweep of the doubleheader, Alabama falls to 30-22 and drops into fourth place in the SEC West with a 12-14 record. Auburn improved to 28-23 and 13-13, and moved into third place in the division.
Alabama used a ninth-inning leadoff home run by Jared Reaves to cut the deficit to 8-7, but with runners on first and second, reliever Dillon Ortman got Brett Booth to ground into a game-ending 1-6-3 double play to record his fourth save of the season.
Ortman preserved the win for Ethan Wallen (5-5), who pitched 2/3 of an inning in relief of starting pitcher Derek Varnadore.
Charley Sullivan (2-2) didn''t record an out and allowed two runs in the pivotal seventh to take the loss.
Alabama starting pitcher Adam Morgan left the game after six innings after allowing three runs on four hits with seven strikeouts. He retired 17 of the final 20 batters he faced.
"Both games came down to the seventh inning," Alabama coach Mitch Gaspard said. "I thought both of our starters did a nice just getting to the seventh, then we broke down in the bullpen. For the majority of the year we''ve done a good job from the bullpen, but today we didn''t throw enough strikes."
Josh Sanders had three hits for the Crimson Tide, notching his third multiple-hit game of the season. Jared Reaves was 2-for-4 with his 17th double and fourth home run of the season. He increased his team-leading RBI total to 42 with three RBIs.
Taylor Dugas was 2-for-4 with two RBIs and a run score, and Brock Bennett was 2-for-4 for his ninth-straight game with at least two hits. Bennett has 24 multiple-hit games to lead the club.
"I thought our team competed and battled all day long," Gaspard said. "We got down a couple times and fought to get back in it. After a tough day, you have to find a way to get one tomorrow. Everyone is fighting for the same thing."
n In game 1, Auburn scored six runs in its final two at-bats to post a 7-5 win.
With the Crimson Tide leading 2-1 entering the bottom of the seventh inning, the Tigers scored four times to take a 5-2 lead. After Alabama answered with three runs in the top of the eighth, Auburn scored a pair of runs in the bottom of the inning to take the series opener.
Auburn reliever Dillon Ortman (2-1) got the final six outs to earn the win. Adam Windsor (3-2) took the loss.
Alabama starting pitcher Nathan Kilcrease threw six innings, allowing four earned on eight hits with three earned runs, four strikeouts, and a pair of walks.
Brett Booth paced the Crimson Tide with his first three-hit game of his career. Booth scored two runs and had one RBI. Brock Bennett (2-for-5, run) notched his team-leading 23rd multiple-hit game of the season.
The teams will complete the series at 1 p.m. today.
n In related news, CSS will televise Alabama''s game against the University of South Carolina at noon Saturday at Sewell-Thomas Stadium.
1. Mitchell joins MSU's 'scooter gang' COLLEGE SPORTS
2. Battle of reigning champs set when West Point faces Lafayette HIGH SCHOOL SPORTS
3. Green has presence on outside of Grantham's defense COLLEGE SPORTS
5. Upshaw, No. 1 EMCC set to face ICC COLLEGE SPORTS