Auburn Takes Baseball Series Opener Over Tide, 8-2


Friday, April 16, 2004

Wade LeBlanc
Wade LeBlanc

» Box Score

TUSCALOOSA, Ala. -- The Auburn Tigers scored six runs in the top of ninth of inning en route to an 8-2 win over the University of Alabama in front of a season-high 5,245 fans at Sewell-Thomas Stadium.

Auburn (25-11, 7-6 SEC) broke open a close game with six runs in the top of the ninth inning, capped by Clete Thomas' three-run home run.  Pinch-hitter J.T. Williamson drove in two runs with a base hit through the right side of the infield.

The Tigers also benefitted from two errors by Zac Welch in the inning as they took a seven-lead.  Senior right-hander Seth Johnson allowed six runs and five hits in his two innings of work, but deserved a better fate.

In addition to the two errors in the ninth, Alabama also made one error in the eighth and was charged with a passed ball of the game on a strikeout, allowing a runner to reach base.

In all, Alabama made four errors and was charged with three passed balls in the loss, its worst fielding performance of the season.

The win snapped a five-game losing streak by the Tigers here in Tuscaloosa and marks AU's first win in a series opener over Alabama here in Tuscaloosa since 1991.

Auburn erased a 1-0 deficit with a pair of two-out runs in the top of the seventh inning to take a 2-1 lead.  Josh Sullivan reached on an infield single to short and scored when Kyle Mayo doubled into right-center field with two outs. 

Mayo entered the game with an .062 batting average this season and his two-out double was just his fourth RBI of the season.  Ben Sprague followed with a base hit through the left side of the infield to score Mayo with what proved to be the winning run.

Alabama (22-14, 4-9 SEC), who ranks 11th in the SEC with a .277 batting average, took a 1-0 lead in the bottom of the fifth inning with only one hit. 

Freshman right-fielder Michael McCallister led off the inning with sharp single to right-center field.  Sophomore catcher Charlie Lyons laid down a sacrifice bunt and reached on the fielding error by Auburn pitcher Mike Felix. McCallister took third base when Felix was charged with a second error as he threw the ball past first baseman Derek Sain.

Freshman center field Brandon Belcher attempted the safety squeeze only to see McCallister thrown out at home by Felix.  Lyons advanced to second on the play and both runners moved up on a Josh Sullivan's passed ball.  Junior shortstop Rocky Sceflo then grounded out to score Lyons with the first run of the game.

Felix allowed one unearned run and five hits in six-plus innings for the win for Auburn.  He added two walks and two strikeouts.

Junior right-hander Steven Register shutout Alabama over the final 2 1/3 innings for his eighth save of the year.  Register has six wins and eight in 17 appearances this year for the Tigers.

Freshman left-hander Wade LeBlanc (5-3) was the tough-luck loser as he allowed two runs and six hits in seven innings.  The Lake Charles, La., native added eight strikeouts and two walks.

Welch smashed a solo home run in the ninth to cap the scoring.

Mayo, Tug Hulett and Sean Gamble had two hits each to pace Auburn's 11-hit attack.

Scott and Welch had two hits each and accounted for four of the Tide's seven hits.

The series resumes on Saturday with a 4 p.m. game at the Joe.  Freshman left-hander Brandon Belcher (3-3, 3.91 ERA) will pitch for Alabama against junior lefty Arnold Hughey (5-1, 4.34 ERA).


*Alabama basketball players Antoine Pettway, Demetrius Smith and Reggie Rambo threw out the first pitch prior to Friday's SEC opener.  The Crimson Tide posted a 20-13 record and became the first team in school history to reach the Elite Eight of the NCAA Tournament.

*Junior shortstop Rocky Scelfo led off the game with a single to right field to extend his hitting streak to nine straight games.  During the streak, the Youngsville, La., native is batting .417 (15-for-36) for the Tide.  He has also has hit safely in seven straight SEC games.

*Alabama recorded its 17th and 18th passed balls of the season, establishing a single-season school record.  The previous record was 16 passed balls by the 1981 team.

*Junior left fielder Gabe Scott extended his hitting streak to four games with a fourth inning single up the middle.  During the streak, Scott is batting .538 (7-for-13) and has hit safely in seven of eight games for Alabama this month.