Five-Run Eighth Propels Auburn To 7-2 Win Over Davidson
March 3, 2009
AUBURN, Ala. - Casey McElroy's double off the wall in left snapped a tie ball game and was the key hit in a five-run eighth inning as Auburn defeated Davidson, 7-2, on Tuesday night at Plainsman Park. Auburn sent nine men to the plate in the inning and collected four hits (a single, two doubles and a triple), an intentional walk and a hit batter to bring the team's record back to .500 at 4-4.
"The difference today was we pitched and played good defense. Paul (Burnside) did a great job for us and Bradley Hendrix had a nice outing out of the bullpen," Auburn Head Coach John Pawlowski said. "The ball wasn't carrying and we found a different way to win today."
The SEC-leader in home runs entering the game with 17, Auburn used a different attack to scrape out the win, collecting nine hits, three walks and two hit by pitches while also taking advantage of three Davidson (4-3) errors.
Hendrix (1-2) picked up his first win of the season by throwing the final three innings, scattering four hits and a walk, striking out a season-high three. His biggest pitch may have come in the ninth, however, as Davidson had runners on first and third with none out but he got Seth Freeman to ground into a 5-4-3 double play with Joseph Sanders keeping the runner at third from scoring.
Though he did not get a decision in the game, Burnside had a very good six-inning outing, which was his longest since going eight full innings on April 20, 2007. He only allowed multiple hits in an inning once, limiting Davidson to just five hits while striking out six.
Davidson took a 2-0 lead in the top of the fifth as the nine-hole hitter, Chris Fitzpatrick, doubled to lead off the inning, went to third on Zach Kayne's groundout to short and scored on a wild pitch. Brent Shore, who had walked after Kayne's turn at the plate and then stole second, also moved up a base on the wild pitch and scored on Matt Webb's sacrifice fly to center.
Auburn answered Davidson's two runs with two of its own, capitalizing on fielding miscues by the Davidson defense. Brian Fletcher doubled to lead off the inning and Justin Hargett followed him by getting hit by a pitch. Trent Mummey then laid down a sacrifice bunt attempt that Davidson third baseman Chris Fitzpatrick could not make a clean throw on, loading the bases with none out. Joseph Sanders' fielders' choice scored Fletcher and Ben Jones' RBI groundout to first scored Mummey to tie the game at 2-2.
Both pitching staffs threw up zeros for the next two innings before Auburn again pressured the Davidson defense into miscues in the bottom of the eighth to break the game open. With one down, Tony Caldwell doubled to left and Wes Gilmer was hit by a pitch to put runners on first and second. McElroy then doubled off the wall in left, scoring Caldwell with the go-ahead run. An intentional pass to Fletcher loaded the bases for Hargett, who reached on a fielder's choice as the Davidson first baseman Danny Weiss threw low to the plate, allowing both Gilmer and McElroy to score. A Mummey triple to the corner in right was the final blow, scoring Fletcher and Hargett with the final two runs in the game.
Mac Hunter (0-1) suffered the loss for Davidson, allowing all five of Auburn's runs in the eighth.
Mummey's triple extended his hitting streak to seven games and his fifth-inning run brought his season total up to a team-best 17 while Sanders' third-inning single brought his hitting streak to six games.
The two teams return to the diamond at 6pm CT on Wednesday for the final game of the two-game set. Auburn will throw Fr. RHP Dexter Price (1-0, 3.00) while Davidson is scheduled to counter with So. RHP Andy Bass (0-0, 5.79).
Auburn 7, Davidson 2 (Mar 03, 2009 at Auburn, Ala.)
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