Alabama baseball staves off elimination, defeats Auburn Tigers in SEC tournament


Alabama baseball player Tommy Seidl (#20) slides into home against Auburn on May 25 at Hoover Met in Birmingham, Ala. (Courtesy of UA Athletics)

Michael DeVito, Contributing Writer

In the third round of the SEC tournament, the Alabama Crimson Tide faced off against and defeated the Auburn Tigers in an elimination game at Hoover Metropolitan Stadium. Alabama previously took two out of three games from the Tigers earlier this season.  

Tuscaloosa native Garrett McMillan (3-2 3.90 ERA) was on the hill for the Crimson Tide, and his Tiger counterpart was southpaw Konner Copeland (4-1 7.18 ERA). 

Outfielder Tommy Seidl got things going for the Crimson Tide and put up the first run of the game. In the home half of the first, Seidl connected and launched a deep fly ball over the left center field wall to put the Crimson Tide up 1-0 fast. However, the Tigers answered right back in the top of the second when Brody Wortham singled down the right field line, bringing home Cooper McMurray to level the game at 1-1.  

In the third, first baseman Drew Williamson’s sacrifice fly to right scored Seidl, who reached second on a double earlier in the inning. In the fourth, the Crimson Tide pulled away from the Tigers. Center fielder Caden Rose got the runs started for the Crimson Tide with a single to left field that scored second baseman Ed Johnson. Seidl followed up with another single to left, scoring shortstop Jim Jarvis. Red-hot right fielder Andrew Pinckney singled to left field again as William Hamiter, who replaced Seidl in the outfield, scored, putting Alabama up 5-1.  

“We trust everybody who’s going to come in there and help us get the win,” Seidl said. 

Despite Alabama putting space between its players and the Tigers, Auburn bounced back in the top of the sixth. Tiger third baseman Bryson Ware trumped McMillan, homering to left center. Later in the inning, Tiger Ike Irish scored on a passed ball on Alabama catcher Mac Guscette.  

On his third single of the afternoon, Rose led off the home half of the sixth, and a perfect bunt from Jarvis followed. With two ducks on the pond for Hamiter, he was hit in the back, loading the bases with no outs for Pinckney. In a hitter’s count, Pinckney turned on a fast ball and ripped a sacrifice fly into right, scoring Rose from third and putting the Crimson Tide ahead by 3. Williamson then brought Jarvis home with a line drive to right with his 58th RBI of the season, bringing the score to 7-3.  

In the bottom of the seventh, McMillan made way for right-hander Hagan Banks to make his 15th appearance of the season. McMillan’s day consisted of 96 pitches, five hits, three runs, three walks and eight strikeouts.  

“He’s [McMillan] an old-school guy,” interim head coach Jason Jackson said. “He’s a bulldog. When he’s moving that fast ball in and out, he’s got that old-school mentality.” 

With their SEC tournament run hanging in the balance, the Tigers put up a fight against Alabama reliever Riley Quick. Auburn’s Cole Foster brought home Chris Stanfield, who got a walk to get on base, with an RBI single to left field drawing Auburn within 3. Right-hander Hunter Hoopes replaced Quick and inherited runners on first and second with the tying run at the plate and one out. Hoopes shut the door on the Tigers, ending Auburn’s SEC tournament. 

“I think it’s good to see our guys come out and respond,” Jackson said. “Whoever could bring that energy would have that advantage.” 

Alabama will advance to the fourth-round losers’ bracket and will play the loser of the Florida Gators vs. Vanderbilt Commodores Friday night at 6:30 p.m. CT on the SEC Network.