MONTGOMERY – Auburn’s win streak in the Capital City Classic finally lapsed. The Tigers had no more arms to hold back Alabama.
Alabama and No. 14 Auburn entered the eighth inning at Riverwalk Stadium tied. But Auburn needed four pitchers to through the inning. By the time it was over, Alabama had a 6-3 lead. Crimson Tide closer Jeremy Randolph, a graduate transfer from Wright State, pitched the final 2 1/3 innings to get the win for Alabama.
“The older guys talk about how they haven’t seen the (postgame) fireworks before and we wanted to do that for them and kind of honor them, try to get a win in the last time they get to play in this game,” Randolph said.
The Tigers (20-5) led the Montgomery series 9-1 entering the night and had won four straight. Alabama (20-6) ended the streak before 7,896 fans, the largest crowd in stadium history. The game does not count in the SEC standings.
Both teams burned through bullpen arms. Alabama had planned on using several relievers and threw eight different pitchers. Auburn used five. But it was Randolph who picked up the win late.
“I thought there in the seventh was a pivotal moment in the game,” coach Brad Bohannon said. “We’ve had back-to-back weekends where we went into a Sunday and Randolph was fresh and we got down big and never got a chance to use him. Just decided I was going to go to him earlier.”
Trouble started for Auburn when reliever Richard Fitts came out after getting a strikeout to start the eighth. Kyle Gray entered and gave up a double to Drew Williamson on the first pitch, then was pulled after throwing a ball to the next batter. Will Morrison relieved him, throwing three more balls to complete the four-pitch walk before being pulled.
He came out for Ryan Watson. Alabama’s Kobe Morris reached on a fielder’s choice to move Williamson to third. Williamson came home to give Alabama a 4-3 lead on a wild pitch. Joe Breaux later doubled to drive home two more runs before Auburn finished the inning.
“Drew is a really talented freshman,” Bohannon said. “He’s played from day one. He has really good hand-eye coordination, he sees the ball well. He’s put the ball in play a lot this year. I was really happy for him being an Alabama boy from the southern part of the state. He’s been to this game multiple times as a fan. Really happy for him to have this moment tonight.”
Williamson, who scored the go-ahead run in the eighth, was 4-4 with a double. Breaux was 2-3 with two walks and three RBIs. He was named MVP.
“Hopefully it gives them confidence next time we’re in a tight game late against a really good team,” Bohannon said. “We’re 3-3 in our last six against ranked opponents. We’re leaving a lot of meat on the bone. We have to get more efficient offensively, we have to play cleaner, play better, but I’m glad to get a win against a very good team.”
Reach Ben Jones at firstname.lastname@example.org or 205-722-0196.