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SUNDAY, APRIL 22, 2007
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Auburn only one game from 1st sweep of Tide since 2001

AUBURN (AP) — Auburn took advantage of three errors, one passed ball and a walk to score four runs in the seventh inning in a 6-3 victory over Alabama on Saturday.

Reliever Chris Dennis (2-3) retired all seven batters he faced and got a double play in the sixth inning to hold the Crimson Tide to a one-run lead.

But the Alabama team fell apart in the bottom of the seventh inning.

Sophomore second baseman Jeff Texada had two errors in the decisive inning, while junior reliever Josh Copeland and junior first baseman Matt Bentley had one error each on two separate botched pickoff attempts.

Sophomore catcher Ryan Rhoden was also charged with a passed ball as the Tide was trying to intentionally walk Auburn left fielder Mike Bianucci to set up a double play.

“We were helped out by some defensive miscues by Alabama in that inning, but I think the nature of how we play — trying to pressure people with the running game and the bunting game — sometimes that helps create the pressure on the defense, and I think that was the case today,” Slater said.

Alabama (22-18, 7-10 Southeastern Conference) hit into three double plays in the loss to Auburn (27-15, 6-11 SEC).

Auburn has taken the first two games of the three-game series, with the third contest set for Sunday at 1:30 p.m. Auburn is looking for its first sweep of rival Alabama since 2001.

“Any victory is big, but being an in-state guy, from when you are born you are taught what this rivalry means, and to go ahead and secure this game and give us a chance to go for the sweep was huge,” Dennis said.

Senior right-hander Bernard Robert (4-5) was the victim of the seventh inning in taking the loss.

He allowed four runs and five hits in 6 1/3 innings. He struck out six, walked five and hit one batter.

“There were a lot of errors in one inning and that will get you beat,” said Alabama head coach Jim Wells.

“We made the first error then put our heads down and made two more,” he said. “Our inability to score on offense is now affecting the other parts of our game.”

Alabama made a season-high five errors in the loss to Auburn. The last time Alabama made five errors in a game was March 9, 2005, against Birmingham Southern.

Copyright 2005 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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