After coming off a tough loss Wednesday night against Vanderbilt, Auburn was placed in the loser’s bracket. Facing an elimination game against rivals Alabama, Auburn would pose a threat early on but quickly die off, being sent home early by a score of 7-4.
Konner Copland got the call to start the game on the mound for the Tigers but would not put together a good outing. After coming off an impressive Sunday game against Missouri, Copeland struggled to find the footing required to contain the Crimson Tide early on. The senior would go 3.1 innings, giving up eight hits and four runs.
The issues did not stop with Copeland. Tanner Bauman would only make it 1.2 innings before being pulled. Bauman faced off against 11 batters and only recorded one strikeout, while giving up four hits and three more runs.
When it came to the offensive side of the plate not much was doing for anyone in the orange jersey. Despite this, an offensive moment happened that will not be forgotten by anyone anytime soon. Bryson Ware stepped up to the plate and launched a ball over the outfield wall in the top of the sixth to give the third baseman 24 home runs this season, which is a new single-season school record.
"It's really cool to do it at this stadium at the SEC Tournament with a good crowd in the stands against Alabama; it makes it a little sweeter," Ware said. "Some outstanding athletes have worn this jersey. It's really cool to see some of that hard work pay off. I can't be more thankful."
"He's worked so hard," Auburn head coach Butch Thompson said of Ware. "He never quit on himself. He absolutely stayed in the fight. It's one of the neatest things I've been a part of. I'll forever hold him in high regard."
Alabama was able to outhit the Tigers 14-7 in the matchup and kept Auburn scoreless in six innings. Even with this, Auburn was able to make noise in the top of the sixth inning with two runs, one of which came from Ware’s home run. It would not take the Crimson Tide long to respond, as in the bottom of the inning Alabama was able to add two runs of its own.
"When we scored two in the sixth and they came right back and scored two, I thought that was a difference in the ballgame," Thompson said. "It felt like a climb the whole way."
Auburn’s Will Cannon would shut down Alabama for three straight innings, only allowing two hits and zero runs, but it would all be for nothing as the Tigers lacked the ability to covert in crucial offensive situations.
Auburn will now wait for Sunday when the reginal host site announcements are made and Monday when the selection show airs at 11 a.m. CT.
Ware sounded off on the potential of how big it would be for Plainsman park to host yet another regional.
"It would be huge," Ware said. "Hopefully we can get that opportunity again. Hopefully I haven't played my last game at Plainsman Park. The ultimate goal is Omaha."