Tag Archives: Auburn

Star Series: Wins produce big offensive performances

Each week for the duration of the Alabama baseball and softball seasons, Daily Bama Blog contributor Brett Hudson will track outstanding individual performances with the Star Series. Three players from each team will get 1-star, 2-stars and 3-stars with a running season tally.

Baseball

The Crimson Tide compiled a 2-2 record over the course of last week, beating Auburn two times in three games, 6-2 on Thursday and 2-0 on Saturday. UAB beat Alabama on Tuesday 1-0 and Auburn did so 6-3 on Friday. Click here to read more about the first two games of the Auburn series.

3-Star Player: Starting pitcher Spencer Turnbull. Turnbull’s lone appearance of the week, a start on Saturday, came through in the clutch with a complete game shutout that clinched the series win. Turnbull gave up just four hits and walked three batters in his nine innings.

2-Star Player: Starting pitcher Charley Sullivan. Sullivan’s start on Thursday won the series-opener against Auburn for the Crimson Tide, as Sullivan gave up five hits and one run while walking just one batter in his eight-inning start.

1-Star Player: First baseman Austen Smith. Smith led the team with a .333 batting average on the week (5-15) and led all players that had more than 10 at-bats in on-base percentage with .412, tying Georgie Salem. Smith had one home run and three RBI with his five hits while also not committing an error.

Season Tally:

Ben Moore: 6 stars

Austen Smith: 5 stars

Brett Booth: 4 stars

Charley Sullivan: 4 stars

Georgie Salem: 3 stars

Cary Baxter: 3 stars

Kenny Roberts: 3 stars

Ray Castillo: 3 stars

Kyle Overstreet: 3 stars

Spencer Turnbull: 3 stars

Mikey White: 2 stars

Jon Keller: 2 stars

Jake Hubbard: 1 star

Softball

The Tide managed its four-game road trip in the state of Texas with a 3-1 record, beating Houston in a midweek tilt 6-3 before beating Texas A&M 6-2 on Saturday and 4-1 on Sunday. The Aggies beat Alabama 3-2 on Friday. Click here to read more on the series-opening loss.

3-Star Player: Pitcher Jackie Traina. Traina led the team with six RBI and a 1.231 slugging percentage in the four games. Traina batted .308 (4-13) with all four hits being home runs. Traina also pitched three times, two of them in starts, and went 1-1. Traina pitched 15 innings, giving up eight hits and four runs, all earned, while walking eight batters and striking out 20.

2-Star Player: Left fielder Kayla Braud. The senior from Eugene, Ore., hit .429 on the week (6-14) with one run scored and two RBI. Braud’s .429 on-base percentage led all Alabama players with more than five at-bats and capitalized by stealing both bases she attempted to steal. She also made quite the defensive play during the weekend series.

1-Star Player: Pitcher Leslie Jury. Jury went 2-0 on the weekend in her two appearances, one of them a start. Jury pitched 10.2 innings, giving up four hits and two runs while walking 12 batters and striking out five.

Season Tally:

Jackie Traina: 12 stars

Haylie McCleney: 9 stars

Kaila Hunt: 8 stars

Kayla Braud: 7 stars

Danielle Richard: 4 stars

Andrea Hawkins: 3 stars

Jadyn Spencer: 2 stars

Keima Davis: 1 star

Danae Hays: 1 star

Leslie Jury: 1 star

Rubber match upcoming for baseball, softball drops series-opener

History indeed repeats itself – and, as is often feared, it repeats itself in a negative way.

The Alabama baseball team opened the season with a six-game winning streak before going on to lose three of its next four games. Alabama reeled off another one in the last two weeks before Friday night’s 6-3 loss to Auburn now has the Crimson Tide losing two of its last three games.

Auburn starting pitcher Michael O’Neil pitched 7.2 innings and held the Tide to eight hits and three runs, none of them earned. Alabama starter Jon Keller has an uncharacteristically shaky start, pitching five innings and allowing six hits and six runs, all earned.

Auburn took a 2-1 lead and pulled away with a four-run bottom of the fifth inning, largely on a three-run home run from first baseman Garrett Cooper.

Alabama and Auburn will break the series tie with a 3 p.m. tilt on Saturday afternoon televised by CSS. You can click here to read the bits and information posted about the series before Thursday’s season opener.

The Alabama softball team also had a hot streak come to an end with its 3-2 loss to Texas A&M in College Station. The Tide had won eight of its last nine games before that loss.

Alabama starting pitcher Jackie Traina pitched a quality start (six innings, four hits, three runs, all earned, eight strikeouts), but one swing of the bat did the Tide in, as Aggie pitcher Mel Dumezich hit a two-run home run in the bottom of the sixth.

Alabama hopes to tie the series with a 4 p.m. Saturday game before ending the series at noon on Sunday.

Impressive streak ends in series win over Auburn

Careers with the Alabama Crimson Tide have been both made and ended early by beating and losing to Auburn. Luckily, Alabama softball coach Patrick Murphy has the 2012 national championship to secure his spot as the Tide’s head man.

The 17-game winning streak against those hated Tigers surely helped, though.

That streak came to an end at 18 games, as Auburn’s 7-4 Saturday win ended the streak but was not enough to win the series after Alabama’s 8-0 Friday win and 13-1 Sunday win.

Friday’s win was win No. 800 for Murphy, all of which come as the head coach for the Tide. The win was a large cause for celebration both for the softball team and for the campus as a whole.

Following win No. 800, Alabama’s Saturday loss to Auburn was shown live on CSS while the revenge win on Sunday was shown on ESPNU.

You can read about the star individual performers on the week by reading the weekly Star Series by clicking here. The full archives of the Star Series can be seen by clicking here.

Baseball battles with No. 5 Louisville to extra innings twice, loses all three games

After a ill-fated effort in the Capital City Classic against Auburn (click here to read more on the loss), Alabama traveled to Louisville, Ky., to face the No. 5 Cardinals and fell just short of a major upset in two of the three games the Crimson Tide dropped to Louisville. It was Alabama’s first winless week of the season, going 0-4.

After dropping the series-opener 4-3 in 14 innings (which you can read more about by clicking here), Alabama came back on Saturday and lost 6-0. Louisville starter Jeff Thompson held Alabama to just two hits in seven innings before relief pitcher Dace Kime pitched the last two innings without giving up a hit. Alabama’s two hits came from catcher Brett Booth and third baseman Kenny Roberts.

Jon Keller started for the Crimson Tide on Saturday, pitching six innings and giving up four hits and two runs, one earned, while striking out seven batters.

Alabama pushed Louisville to extra-innings on Sunday also, but fell in 10 innings 8-7. The Tide used seven pitchers in the 10-inning game, including three in the final inning. Alabama’s offensive superstar was right fielder Ben Moore, who went 3-for-3 from the plate with two runs scored, three RBI and a walk.

The Tide will now return to Tuscaloosa for a five-game homestand, playing Memphis on Tuesday and Wednesday before hosting its first series of Southeastern Conference play, a three-game stand versus Tennessee on Friday, Saturday and Sunday.

Alabama comes in as No. 4 seed in SEC Tournament, has three possible opponents

imageAlabama is one of four programs that lays claim to the first double-bye in SEC Men’s Basketball Tournament history, locking up one of the top four seeds in the tournament with its thrilling win over Georgia and a little help from Tennessee in their home win on Missouri on Saturday.

But with the extra day off comes a little more uncertainty, as Alabama’s list of potential opponents increases from two to three. The winner of Mississippi State’s opening round game with Auburn will move on to play No. 5 seed Tennessee. The winner of that game will advance to take on the Crimson Tide.

Alabama is 1-1 against Tennessee this season, winning at home 68-65 on Jan. 12 but lost to the Volunteers in Knoxville just 14 days later, 54-53.

The Tide also split the season series with Auburn, winning at home 61-43 on Feb. 26 to avenge a 49-37 loss at Auburn Arena on Feb. 6. Alabama swept the season series with the Bulldogs, winning 75-43 in Starkville in its third conference game of the year before winning in Coleman Coliseum 64-56 on Feb. 20.

Nick Saban, football team accept Iron Bowl trophy

The ODK-Foy Sportsmanship Trophy, given to the winner of the Iron Bowl every year. (Copyright photo by Brett Hudson)

The ODK-Foy Sportsmanship Trophy, given to the winner of the Iron Bowl every year. (Copyright photo by Brett Hudson)

As the tradition goes, the victors of the 2012 Iron Bowl received the traveling ODK-Foy Sportsmanship Trophy during halftime of Alabama’s home basketball game against Auburn.

Below, we have video of the players taking the court for the presentation, Alabama head coach Nick Saban addressing the crowd, linebacker Nico Johnson after the presentation and a small surprise included.

Full Story: Alabama improves as it whips Auburn

Anthony Grant coaching the Crimson Tide to its revenge win over Auburn Tuesday night. (AP photo)

Anthony Grant coaching the Crimson Tide to its revenge win over Auburn Tuesday night. (AP photo)

Here is the full story from Tuesday night’s Iron Bowl of Basketball, as the Crimson Tide beat Auburn. At the bottom, you’ll see video of Alabama coach Anthony Grant’s press conference afterwards.

—–

TUSCALOOSA — Never has a basketball team felt better about itself on the offensive end of the floor after scoring 61 points and shooting 39.3 percent from the floor in a winning effort.

Drawing the regular-season series with rival Auburn to an even draw at one after losing on the road Feb. 6 was enough, but it was more satisfying to know that a groove is in place after the 61-43 win over Auburn.

“I thought the improvement we made over the last 20 days showed because we didn’t let (early offensive struggles) rattle us,” Alabama coach Anthony Grant said. “We had some success and built a lead.”

A large part of the offensive renaissance is junior point guard Trevor Releford, who followed his 36-point explosion Saturday against LSU with a 21-point game on 7-for-13 shooting against the Tigers.

“I think I’ve been preparing better recently,” Releford said. “I’ve been more focused and when I’m focused, I have a lot of confidence in my shot.”

Grant added, “I thought Trevor did a great job. He was locked-in. He was energetic, and I thought that was contagious to our team.”

Fellow point guard, redshirt freshman Retin Obasohan, created opportunities for himself via the dribble-drive to the tune of 10 points. Obasohan also had four rebounds, two assists and a steal. Trevor Lacey had a dozen points for the Tide.

“That’s something I’ve been working on,” Obasohan said of his dribble penetration abilities. “Coach always gets after me to use my athleticism. I guess today was one of those days I was able to make some plays for my teammates.”

When they were not scoring, the guards found 11 of Alabama’s 13 assists setting up big men for offensive opportunities, paving the way for sophomore forward Nick Jacobs to put up 10 points on 5-7 shooting.

“I thought Nick Jacobs came in in the first half and gave us a big boost,” Grant said. “Alabama attributed the upgrade in offensive output to halftime adjustments. Alabama’s shooting percentage in the 20 minutes after the intermission was 14 percent better than the 20 minutes preceding it.

“I guess the message at halftime was we have to come out and hit first,” Releford said. “We just can’t let up, because we know we were going to come out and get their best shot. We just had to hit first.”

Grant added, “When we get good looks, trust your preparation, go play. Don’t be hesitant. I thought the guys did a great job of responding to that.”

The Tigers have done the exact opposite, losing rhythm going down the stretch. From Christmas Day to Jan. 16, the Tigers scored 75.8 points per game. Since then, Auburn has averaged 57.75 points per contest. Auburn’s 43 points was the fewest it has scored against Alabama since 1949.

“If you can put a finger on it, it would be easily fixed,” Auburn forward Rob Chubb said. “People aren’t creating how they should be. Aggressiveness on the offensive end is one of the reasons.”

Chubb led the Tigers in scoring with 13 points. Frankie Sullivan continued to slump for Auburn. He finished 1-of-9 shooting for six points.

Auburn coach Tony Barbee added, “Did you watch the game? Missing layups, missing open shots. We probably missed 20 layups tonight. How are you going to win a game when you miss 20 layups?”

No. 5 Alabama gymnastics keeps streak going over Auburn

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Alabama’s Ashley Priess scored a 9.875 on the floor exercise to anchor three scores of 9.9 or higher on the event. (Photo courtesy of UA athletics)

The Crimson Tide gymnastics team came through with season-high scores in the vault, balance beam and floor exercise at the perfect time: not only to get off of a two-meet losing streak with a 197.650-196.575 win, but also against Auburn for its 106th win in a row over the Tigers.

But beating Auburn, as significant as beating the hated rival is, was not the team’s proudest moment from the meet.

“They know the rivalry, they know all about that,” Alabama coach Sarah Patterson said. “When you think back, we haven’t lost (to Auburn) in 33 years, some of these kids have parents that are not much older than 40, so the magnitude of it, I don’t think that plays into it.”

Admittedly, the timing was pretty good to set a new season-high overall score of 197.650 in front of a sellout crowd in Coleman Coliseum.

“It helps a little bit, maybe, that it was Auburn, but we don’t take the meet just by who we’re competing against because in the end, it’s our team score that’s going to count for our rankings,” said Alabama’s Marissa Gutierrez, who had a meet-high 9.925 on vault.

Gutierrez said there was one particular move that the entire team put an emphasis on leading up to the Auburn meet.

“Some of the upperclassmen took it upon themselves to ask the coaches if we could do a bunch of stick drills every day and play little games on it each day,” Gutierrez said. “We tried to emulate each of landings the best we could do it and I think that helped us tonight.”

The improved landings made for a grand realization of the team’s potential.

“I think this is the meet that we were looking for,” Patterson said. “We weren’t perfect, but we stepped it up on all levels. We’ve done this in practice, but we never did it in a competition. Tonight, this showed we can be one of the top teams in the country.”

Contributed by Brett Hudson

Did Harvey Updyke foreshadow his ill-fated trip to Alabama softball game?

By now you know Harvey Updyke wasn’t welcomed to Alabama’s SEC softball tournament game Friday. The boys in blue asked the father of Crimson Tyde Updyke to take a hike as Alabama beat Georgia 1-0.

School officials may have been tipped off to Updyke’s interest in attending if they monitored one popular Alabama fan website.

A poster on a TiderInsider.com message board named “Alfromdadeville,” inquired Thursday morning about the SEC softball tournament.

“If they win, what time do they play tomorrow,” the poster asked. He later checked on ticket prices for the SEC softball tournament played in Tuscaloosa for the first time since 2004.

From TiderInsider.com (Click to enlarge)

Alabama, minus Updyke, will face Florida at noon today for the SEC crown. Tune into ESPN2 for all the action.

 

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Auburn has the momentum entering weekend baseball series

Series starts at 7 tonight in Tuscaloosa.

The two with a history of animosity enter today’s baseball series opener on different paths. Read about that here …

TUSCALOOSA — The first few months of SEC baseball made a mockery of preseason polls.

Auburn was supposed to finish last in the West Division and a third-place finish was penciled in for Alabama. Wrong and wrong, at least to this point in the spring.

The Tigers enter the 7 p.m. series opener in Tuscaloosa tied atop the West Division with LSU while the Crimson Tide went the opposite direction. A light-hitting lineup has Alabama (10-19, 1-8 SEC) last in the league facing its first losing season since 1994.

“We just about got dirt thrown on us in the grave, but at the same time, you’re at a point where a series win would certainly mean a lot to this club right now,” Alabama coach Mitch Gaspard said.

Auburn, meanwhile, won its first three SEC series for the first time in nine seasons and climbed to No. 23 nationally. Wins in seven of the last 10 games gave the Tigers momentum that’s eluded the Tide all season.

Losses in 10 of the last 12 games can play with the psyche of a team with a young pitching staff. But the troubles were spread through all aspects of the team.

Click here for the complete dispatch.

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Updated: Win over Auburn drops Alabama’s RPI

Update: Alabama dropped a spot in the latest RPI projection despite not playing Thursday evening.

Florida State’s buzzer beater at Virginia moved it to No. 23 from No. 28. That pushed Alabama back to No. 28. Click here for the Yahoo Sports RPI projections.

It’s hardly significant in the grand scheme of things, but an interesting note, nonetheless.

Original post: A loss would have been worse, but a win over Auburn on Thursday didn’t help Alabama’s RPI rating.

The Crimson Tide dropped from No. 25 to No. 27 according to two unofficial calculations of the formula used by the NCAA tournament selection committee.

Click here for the Yahoo Sports version and here for the RealtimeRPI.com estimate.

The reason for the drop? Auburn’s RPI of 145 didn’t help Alabama’s strength of schedule. The Tide still have the 15th toughest path to the postseason, according to the computers.

The final game of the year is Saturday at Ole Miss, the No. 59 team in the RPI ratings.

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Anthony Grant’s ‘difference maker’ in Auburn win might surprise you

Nobody scored many points in Alabama’s 55-49 beating of Auburn last night. One particular light-scoring Crimson Tide guard earned special praise from coach Anthony Grant.

Reserve junior Ben Eblen played 12 minutes, didn’t take a shot and had one free throw in a supporting role. But he did more than the stat sheet says.

“He could have been the difference in the game,” Grant said.

How is that?

“We were a little frustrated from an offensive standpoint with the way we were not having success offensively,” Grant said. “So I think Ben came in and he did a great job focusing on doing the things that we needed to do in the press from a defensive standpoint, attacking in terms of the tempo we wanted the game to played at.

“I thought he did a great job imposing his will on the game so to speak. He, to me, was huge tonight. He could have been the difference in the game.”

Eblen had one steal after entering the game with Auburn leading in the second half. The crowd was eager to see him shoot, but the junior hasn’t taken a shot since the road loss to LSU.

More on basketball later.

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The secret to winning ugly in hoops Iron Bowl

By now you should have recovered from watching that dizzying display of basketball performed in Coleman Coliseum. Now read how it all came together for the Crimson Tide in a big win over Auburn …

TUSCALOOSA — Shoot a season-low from the field and make just 14 shots wasn’t the plan.

Rodney Cooper (AP photo)

Allow your bitter rival to ugly it up in your own gym should spell disaster. But Alabama snuck one out Wednesday night in a nervous Coleman Coliseum.

It did so with free throws.

A sloppily played night ended with a 55-49 Alabama win over Auburn thanks in part to a 24-5 scoring advantage from the line. The Crimson Tide (20-9, 9-6 SEC) took its fifth straight against Auburn and fourth in a row to close February and all but assure a trip to the NCAA tournament.

The disjointed night of basketball saw the hosts shoot 32 free throws to the guests’ 12. That was enough to overcome shooting 31.1 percent from the field and one of Auburn’s best defensive games of the year.

“I didn’t know what we shot until the end of the game, to be honest with you,” Alabama coach Anthony Grant said. “We were able to get in the bonus early in the second half and we were converting our free throws. It was evident there a few minutes into the second half that this was going to be a grind-it-out possession-type game.”

Leading the rhythm-less second half for the Tide was senior JaMychal Green. The Montgomery native scored 13 of his team-high 15 after halftime while making 7-of-10 free throws.

Green said the unsightly game was reminiscent of the 51-49 Alabama win over Auburn in Tuscaloosa last year. Green tipped in a shot at the buzzer to win that one and he had another crucial follow-up Wednesday night.

His tap-in with 37.0 seconds left Alabama ahead 51-47. Auburn (14-15, 4-11) never got any closer after missing two late 3s and Alabama made 4 of 6 free throws to seal it. The emotions of senior night played a factor early on, Grant said.

Click here for the entire story.

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Video of ‘Rammer Jammer’ after Alabama beats Auburn

The final score: Alabama 55, Auburn 49. This was the scene right after the game in Coleman Coliseum.

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The Iron Bowl trophy is here

Look what just arrived at Coleman Coliseum. It’s the Iron Bowl football trophy. It’ll be handed back to Alabama at halftime.

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