Tigers win 8th Classic in front of record crowd
March 28, 2017
MONTGOMERY, AL – A boisterous crowd of 7,605, which set a Riverwalk Stadium baseball game record, bore witness to one of the closer editions of the rivalry that saw Alabama battle back from an early 3-0 deficit in the third. The Tigers scored all three runs in the top half of that inning off Alabama starter Justin Rukes, who went just three innings, but tallied five strikeouts. After Auburn scored their first run, right fielder Daniel Robert extended that 1-0 lead to 3-0 with a two-run single.
Alabama would pull a run back in the bottom of the third with a sacrifice fly off Auburn starter Christian Camacho, before adding another one in the fourth, and finally tying the game in the fifth on another sac fly. The game would remain deadlocked at three thanks to an incredible defensive play by Auburn second baseman Jay Estes who threw out Alabama left fielder Chandler Taylor trying to extend the game’s lone double into a triple in the sixth.
Estes wasn’t finished, however, as the second baseman made another stellar play to rob the Crimson Tide of a run, backhanding a groundball hit up the middle with two outs and the bases loaded in the bottom of eighth, and then under-handing to shortstop Luke Jarvis at second to get the inning-ending force out on a close play at second.
Estes’ impressive defensive display garnered him the game’s Most Valuable Player, as Auburn improved to 21-6 on the season, and Alabama dipped below .500, falling to 12-13.