Auburn rallies to defeat Alabama in the ninth

Alabama head coach Jim Wells chatting with <em>Our Prattville</em> and other reporters after the game - Photo by Melissa Parker
Alabama head coach Jim Wells chatting with Our Prattville and other reporters after the game - Photo by Melissa Parker

Montgomery – The second-largest crowd in Riverwalk Stadium history was on hand for baseball Iron Bowl style. Auburn (10-4) rallied from a ninth inning deficit to defeat Alabama (8-4) 8-7 in the 2009 MAX Capital City Classic.

Jimmy Nelson (1-1) allowed two runs on three hits in the ninth inning to notch his first loss of the year. The Alabama bullpen had gone 19 1/3 innings without an earned run before the sophomore allowed his first two runs of the season. The Alabama bullpen has accounted for all four Tide losses this season.

“It was areal good game,” Alabama head coach Jim Wells said. “There were a lot of good things about the game, our ability to comeback against a good team. I thought (Austin) Graham and (Austin) Evans pitched well. We had the dramatic comeback and Jake had a big hit, but we have to finish the game.”

Auburn took an early first inning lead of 3-0 on left fielder Brian Fletcher’s three-run double.

Trent Mummey’s seventh home run of the year boosted the Auburn lead to 4-0 in the second inning.

Alabama closed the gap to 4-3 in the third inning on a towering three-run blast by right fielder Kent Matthes, who leads NCAA with 10 home runs.

In the fourth inning Auburn’s Kevin Paterson scored on a passed ball by Kyle Moore and Tony Caldwell breezed home on second baseman Justin Hargett’s suicide squeeze play to extend Auburn’s lead to 6-3.

Alabama starting pitcher David Head exited the game after allowing five runs and four hits.

Auburn starter Paul Burnside left the game in the fifth after walking two batters and was replaced by Michael Hurst. Hurst hit catcher Vin DiFazio to load the basses before Taylor Dugas popped up to the shortstop to strand the diamond.

Burnside gave up three unearned runs and four hits in the no decision.

Austin Evans entered the game in the eighth to pitch for Alabama.

Sophomore second baseman Ross Wilson (brother of Alabama Quarterback John Parker Wilson) led off the eighth inning with an infield single. Catcher Vin DiFazio doubled to left center and drove home Wilson. Taylor Thompson replaced Michael Hurst for Auburn and quickly gave up a run scoring double to Taylor Dugas to cut the Auburn lead to 6-5. Jake Smith’s two-run home run gave Alabama their first lead of the night 7-6.

Auburn shortstop Casey McElroy began the ninth inning with a triple off Alabama closer Jimmy Nelson. Justin Hargett hit a sacrifice fly to left field to tie the game at 7-7. Auburn center fielder Trent Mummey doubled to left field. Mummey scored on Ben Jones two-out double to give Auburn an 8-7 lead.

Auburn pitcher Zack Blatt (1-0) replaced Taylor Thompson in the eighth and retired all six batters in the final two innings for the win.

“We got behind the eight-ball early,” Wells said. “The key inning was the fourth inning when we had a couple of breakdowns and gave them two runs.”

“It was a great atmosphere, the city of Montgomery and the Biscuits did a great job of putting this on, really did. This is first class the way we were treated and it was really a wonderful experience and these people did it perfectly and we would love to be a part of something like this again. This was outstanding in all respects,” Wells added.

Article by Marc Parker

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