HOOVER, Ala. – Seventh-seeded Alabama broke open a tie game with three runs in the bottom of the eighth inning to best intrastate rival and 10th-seeded Auburn, 6-3, on Tuesday at the Southeastern Conference Baseball Tournament at Hoover Metropolitan Stadium.
Alabama (33-24) advances to play second-seeded LSU (48-8) in the second game on Wednesday, which will be televised on CSS.
Jay Shaw earned the win for Alabama, tossing 5.0 innings in relief, scattering four hits and allowing no runs. Ray Castillo earned his 11th save of the year for the Crimson Tide.
Alabama struck first in the opening inning as Kenny Roberts drew a leadoff walk, advanced to second on a throwing error and was sacrificed home by Kyle Overstreet.
Auburn picked up three runs in the top of the third after leadoff walks to Cullen Wacker and Garrett Cooper. A double down the left-field line by Patrick Savage scored Walker and a sacrifice fly by Dan Glevenyak plated cooper. Savage came around to score on a single by Jordan Ebert.
Alabama added a run in the fourth to cut its deficit to 3-2 as Ben Moore singled to left center to begin the inning and was later driven in by Brett Booth.
Alabama knotted the score at 3-all in the bottom of the sixth as Moore led off with a single to right field before being driven in by a double from Austen Smith. The Crimson Tide had two runners on base and none out before Auburn brought in reliever Reid Carter to shut the door and get his team out of a jam.
With one out in the bottom of the eighth inning, Alabama's Smith singled to shortstop and advanced to third on a double by Booth. Chase Vincent singled up the middle to plate Smith and a sacrifice fly scored Booth. Andrew Miller scored on a wild pitch.
Auburn (33-23) was eliminated from the tournament as part of a new 12-team format that features a single-elimination opening day.
2013 SEC Baseball Tournament
Game 2 – Tuesday, May 21 – 12:30 p.m.
#7 Alabama vs. #10 Auburn
Alabama Postgame Quotes
Coach Mitch Gaspard
"It was obviously a big game for both teams today. One of the things we've been doing over the past couple of weeks is picking each other up. Today, obviously Jay Shaw was the story coming in after (Justin) Kamplain had a rough start. Jay was tremendous. It was the longest outing he's had with us in the last two years. Defensively we did a really good job. We missed a couple of opportunities early, but we responded in the eighth. It was a good team win for us. We battled hard."
On the possibility of playing in the postseason
"Personally, I feel like we've done enough to get in. At the same time, you don't want to leave anything to chance. I know a lot can happen this week with tournament play. I felt like a win today would certainly solidify us getting in. Good play in this tournament could potentially move you from a three-seed to a two-seed. We feel pretty comfortable about getting into a regional."
On Jay Shaw pitching five scoreless innings
"To start the game, Justin (Kamplain) had been our hottest pitcher. He's been tremendous the last three weeks. Today was one of those days where he wasn't very sharp and his command wasn't very good. The heat got to him after the second inning. What a job by Jay Shaw. He's been pitching well. He has given up one run in his last 15 innings. He's been more of a two inning type guy for us. Once he got through two innings I was a little concerned. He stayed at it. He found a way to get to that eighth inning. We were still a little bit thin in the back end. It was big for Jay to get us to the eighth and give it over to Ray (Castillo) in the ninth inning."
On his first SEC Tournament appearance
"The first SEC tournament is a dream for me; it's something I've been looking forward to my whole life. This is a great team win. Our back isn't against the wall, we're in the tournament. It feels great to be here."
"Having my and friends here is exciting; to have them come watch, it means a lot. In turn, I hope I can return the favor and play out for them."
On his performance today
"I knew I had to get the job done; at my last at-bat I knew I had to get something done."
"Coach is always talking about a team win, you got to stay as a team; today was no different. The offense and defense both came through in the end."
On his outing on the mound today
"I had guys making plays behind me. It's easy to pitch when you've got guys who are making these kinds of plays."
Auburn Postgame Quotes
Coach John Pawlowski
"They're a good baseball team. They had opportunities to score runs. We pitched out of a couple of jams, but Alabama's big hit in the eighth inning really opened the door for them to win. Regardless, I'm proud of my kids. Unfortunately, it didn't work out for us today."
On the team's plans before Selection Sunday
"We need to regroup and sort things out as a staff. We need to determine the best route for this team. Everyone's disappointed, but I certainly hope we can continue to play."
On his performance
"I felt good out there today, but I couldn't take command of my secondary pitches and that's what hurt us today. Sometimes when a pitcher misses spots, the other team capitalizes on it."
On Auburn's post-season future
"It's going to be tough waiting to see if we made it in. We don't know what the outcome will be, so I'm anxious about it."
On facing Brett Booth
"We played against each other in high school. We've had a rivalry for a while now."
*SOURCE SEC DIGITAL NETWORK**