Former Eagles in SEC tournament
By WESLEY HALLMAN / Sports Editor
HOOVER — Former Oak Mountain High School baseball standout Kevin Patterson faced a few pressure-packed at bats during his second and final trip to Regions Park for the Southeastern Conference baseball tournament.
Patterson, in his senior season with the Auburn Tigers, handled it well in his first two plate appearances against top-ranked South Carolina in the tournament quarterfinals May 25.
Patterson smacked a two-run double to the right field wall on a 2-2 count in the top of the first inning to give Auburn a 3-1 lead early in the game. The double was Patterson’s 16th of the season, which is second on the team, and gave him 43 RBIs for the season.
Patterson, who is also tied for the team lead in home runs, added a bloop single to center field on a 3-2 count in the top of the fourth inning in his second at bat.
The momentum turned for both Patterson and his teammates in the middle innings. Patterson finished 0-for-2 in his final two at bats with a fly out to center field in the top of the sixth inning and a strikeout in the top of the ninth inning.
Meanwhile, South Carolina erased the early two-run deficit in a 7-3 victory over Auburn. Patterson finished 2-for-4 at the plate and drove in two runs for the Tigers in the defeat.
Auburn was eliminated from contention for a berth in the NCAA tournament following a 3-2 loss to Georgia in a consolation game at the SEC tournament May 26.
Patterson finished 0-for-4 at the plate with two strikeouts in the loss to Georgia in his final game wearing an Auburn uniform.
Auburn relief pitcher Bradley Hendrix, also a former standout at Oak Mountain, did not pitch in either game at the SEC tournament.
Patterson, who has been drafted in the Major League Baseball Draft twice, is hitting .278 with eight homers and 43 RBIs for the Tigers in his senior season.
Patterson was selected by the Chicago White Sox in the 24th round of the 2007 MLB Draft following his senior season at Oak Mountain. Patterson was also drafted in the 23rd round of the 2010 MLB Draft following his junior season at Auburn, where he hit .315 with 16 homers and 33 RBIs.
Hendrix, who currently has a 2-1 record with a 4.82 earned run average in 13 appearances, including three starts, was drafted in the 30th round of the 2010 MLB Draft by the Cincinnati Reds following his junior season at Auburn.
Hendrix finished his junior season with a 4-2 record and a 5.35 earned run average in 22 relief appearances.