Spencer Turnbull threw Alabama's first complete-game shutout in two years, leading the Crimson Tide to a 2-0 win over the Auburn Tigers in front of 3,911 fans at Plainsman Park on Saturday afternoon. With the victory, Alabama wins the Southeastern Conference series to improve to 18-11 overall and 7-2 in conference play. Auburn falls to 16-12 overall and 1-8 in SEC play.
"I told the team before the game, there was more to this game," Alabama head coach Mitch Gaspard said. "Today was about representing Alabama and what we stand for and the great man like Coach Moore. I'm just very proud of the way we represented the University today."
If pitching and defense wins games, Alabama got both on Saturday. Turnbull gave up four hits, with four strikeouts and got the Tigers to ground into four double plays.
"Today was the second straight outing that Turnbull was really good," Gaspard said. "It was really good to see that his velocity was still up at the end of the game. We knew he had that kind of performance in him, and he's brought it out he last two games. He's pitching with a lot of confidence and he was just outstanding today."
With nine innings of scoreless pitching against the Tigers, Turnbull has now gone 22.2 scoreless innings since allowing a run in the first inning against Tennessee on March 17. Since allowing a run in the first inning to the Vols, he threw 6.2 scoreless against Tennessee and then seven scoreless last week at Georgia.
"It's very frustrating," Auburn Head Coach John Pawlowski said. "Will Kendall and Daniel Koger both did an outstanding job for us. Unfortunately we weren't able to get anything going offensively. Give (Alabama) credit, I thought they pitched extremely well."
The Tide defense did not commit an error and turned double plays in the first, third, fourth and fifth innings. The four double plays in the game give the Tide 37 for the season and matched a season-high.
"The seventh inning was big to get a run there" Gaspard said. "A two-run lead felt like a four-run lead with the way Turnbull was throwing. It was good execution defensively, again getting a lot of big double plays. It was a very good weekend and we played three good games on the road."
Offensively, Alabama had just two hits against Auburn pitchers Will Kendall and Daniel Koger. Kendall (0-2) took the loss after throwing the first three innings, allowing an unearned run on a hit with two walks and two strikeouts. Koger threw the final six innings, allowing one run on one hit with three walks and two hit batters.
Alabama opened the game with a single by Georgie Salem, then didn't get another hit until the seventh when Chance Vincent singled through the ride side on a hit and run. Vincent was 1-for-2 with a walk and a run scored.
For the third time this weekend, Alabama took a 1-0 lead, scoring an unearned run in the top of the third. After Vincent walked to lead off the inning, a sacrifice bunt by Andrew Miller moved him into scoring position. A hard hit ground ball off the bat of Kenny Roberts went off the glove of Auburn third baseman Damek Tomscha and went in to left field allowing Vincent to score from second.
The Crimson Tide manufactured a run in the seventh to extend its lead to 2-0. After Mikey White was hit by a pitch with one out, Vincent executed a perfect hit and run and singled through the right side to move White to third. Miller then had a successful sacrifice safety squeeze to allow White to score from third.
After playing seven straight games on the road, Alabama returns to Sewell-Thomas Stadium on Tuesday night when it hosts Southeastern Louisiana at 6:05 p.m. CST.
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