Auburn won a big SEC baseball game last night and it will not count in the SEC standings.
The Tigers defeated Alabama 8-3 in the ‘Capital City Classic’ at Montgomery’s Riverwalk Stadium. Although the game does not count in the SEC standings – it’s still big.
It’s big anytime these two rivals go at it; and it was big Tuesday night as a sold out crowd turned out to watch Auburn (8-6) defeat the Tide (5-8). The victory keeps the Tigers undefeated record alive in what has become the Iron Bowl of baseball.
It was an especially sweet victory for a Tiger team that in the early going this season, has been hitting the ball well yet leaving men on base. Just Sunday afternoon, the Tigers stranded 14 runners in a 5-4 loss to Southern Miss.
This time though, the Tigers found the big hit when Dan Glevenyak drove in two runs with two outs in the first to put Auburn up 2-0 and then hit a homerun in the fifth to give Auburn a 5-2 lead. The game’s MVP went 3-for-4 and reached on an error in the eighth, which allowed Auburn to push the score to 8-2.
Auburn starting pitcher Jon Luke Jacobs (3-0) turned in a performance worthy of MVP honors himself as he went 6 2/3 innings, scattered five hits and set Alabama batters down in order in three of those innings. The team leader in strike outs, Jacobs upped his total K’s to 22 including two fanning’s in the fifth.
In the seventh Justin Bryant came out of the bullpen with two outs to earn Auburn’s first save of the season. He gave up one run and struck out three batters in the final 2 1/3 innings.
The team that was picked to finish last in the SEC West preseason poll now leads the league in hits (154), walks (81), hit by pitches (24), sac bunts (15), steals (44) and steal attempts (57 for .77%) and is second in the league in batting average (.329), on base percentage (.440), doubles (29), triples (nine) and total bases (222).
In addition Creede Simpson is the SEC leader in hits with 25, Jay Gonzalez leads the league in triples with three and stolen bases (13), Ryan Tella is the league leader in walks with 15 and Jay Gonzalez is tied for second with13.
And the best stat of all for this writer is the Tigers have now won their fourth consecutive Baseball Iron Bowl – The Max -Capital City Classic.
However, the victory over the Tide carries more significance than just defeating Auburn’s No.1 rival. With the Tigers a little over a week away from playing Ole Miss, the win showed they are ready to get into the tough SEC schedule. And when they do …
This team is going to surprise a lot of those preseason prognosticators.