MAX Capital City Classic 2018
The 10th Annual MAX Capital City Classic was held in Montgomery at Riverwalk Stadium on March 27, 2018. The Auburn Tigers faced the Alabama Crimson Tide on the diamond as college athletics greatest inner-state rivalry.
Auburn continued its dominance in the MAX Capital City Classic series with a win over Alabama, clinching the 5-2 victory with a series of athletic defensive plays in the final innings. The annual non-conference series favors the Tigers, 9-1.
This year’s event shattered previous attendance records. More than 7,719 fans filled the Riverwalk Stadium, covering the lawn area and leaving standing room only. Last year, more than 7,605 fans packed the home of the Biscuits. The Montgomery Biscuits confirmed that this year's crowd was the largest in Riverwalk Stadium’s baseball history!
The Tigers came to Montgomery with their defense rolling on all cylinders, and a trio of home runs helped them defeat Alabama.
Auburn’s Will Holland became the first player in the history of the Capital City Classic to hit a pair of home runs and was named the Most Valuable Player.
“A win is a win,” Holland said. “It’s even better when it’s Alabama.”
"Holland, those two swings he had tonight were beautiful, and the three plays Jay Estes made defensively changed the course of the ballgame," head coach Butch Thompson said. "This place was jam packed all the way around. Everybody did their job, MAX Credit Union, Auburn University, the University of Alabama, the city of Montgomery. It's a special event for baseball in the state of Alabama."
Auburn outfielder Jay Estes got the Tigers’ blood pumping and fans out of their seats with several ESPN SportsCenter-worthy catches in center field. Thompson said that Estes changed the ballgame, and covered territory like the center fielder should.
“You could put him behind the plate, you could put him anywhere, and he’s going do a good job,” Alabama coach Brad Bohannon, who was an Auburn assistant last year, told the Montgomery Advertiser. “I’m not surprised to see him do well out there.”
Auburn scored four runs off Alabama starter Mason Duke, who pitched for 1.2 innings.
Alabama’s offense ignited in the sixth, bringing in a run. Alabama’s Chandler Taylor walked and advanced to second on a wild pitch. UA’s Chandler Avant singled up the middle to score Taylor in that same at-bat, setting the score at 4-1. That run was matched by the Tigers in the seventh inning. The Tide scored another run in the top of the eighth and had runners in position to extend the game in the ninth. Alabama was unsuccessful at bringing the tying runner across home plate.
“Auburn beat us in every facet of the game tonight,” Bohannon said. “They had better at-bats. They pitched better. Obviously, their defense played a huge role as well with (Jay) Estes making some great plays in center to keep us from starting a rally. We've had a real problem getting down big early, and that hurt us again tonight.”