#23 Tigers Win Series With Thrilling 7-6 Defeat Of #10 Arizona State On Sunday
March 4, 2007
AUBURN, Ala. -
Luke Greinke's sacrifice fly in the bottom of the eighth snapped the tie and Justin Bristow got out of a bases-loaded, one-out jam to nail down the final two outs as No. 23 Auburn took its second straight game and the series from No. 10 Arizona State with a 7-6 win on Sunday.
The Tigers (13-2) found themselves trailing Arizona State (12-5) midway through the game for the sixth time in six all-time meetings but as they did in Saturday's come-from-behind victory, Auburn again rallied to take its first-ever series from a Pac-10 team.
Down 1-0 after a half inning, Auburn scored two in the bottom of the first on a bases-loaded walk and an RBI single to left by Andy Bennett (1-for-5, RBI) before tacking on two more in the bottom of the second on Robert Brooks' (1-for-4, BB, 2 RBI) two-RBI single to center to take a 4-1 lead.
Arizona State roared back with four runs in the top of the third, only to have Auburn retake the lead in the bottom of the fourth with two more runs, the first coming when Bruce Edwards (3-for-4, BB, 3 R, SB) drew a walk, went to second on a failed pickoff attempt, stole third and scored on a wild pitch. Josh Donaldson (1-for-3, HR, 2 BB, SB, 2 R, RBI) followed with his sixth home run of the season, a blast over the wall in left, to make it 6-5 Auburn.
"Coming into this weekend we wanted to earn some respect from these guys, because we hadn't forgotten what happened last year out there," Edwards said. "I know it is my job to get on base so guys like Donaldson and Bianucci can drive me in, and that's what happened today."
The Sun Devils tied the score in the top of the fifth and neither pitching staff would budge from there as the two teams combined for just one hit from the bottom of the fifth through the top of the eighth, though ASU did issue four walks that Auburn could not turn into runs.
The pitching stayed the same but Auburn was able to capitalize on a pair of sacrifices and a couple of Arizona State miscues to take the lead in the bottom of the eighth. Mike Bianucci (1-for-2, SB) was hit by a pitch to lead off the inning and moved up to second on pinch-hitter Ben Jones' sacrifice bunt. Bianucci pinch-run fro by Ross Smith, who moved up to third on a wild pitch and scored the game-winning run on Greinke's (1-for-1, 2 RBI) sacrifice liner to right.
Arizona State would not fold in the final inning, drawing a walk and singling off of Chris Dennis before Bristow entered the game with one out. After issuing an intentional walk, Bristow got pinch-hitter Joe Persichina to pop up to Brooks down the right field line and Petey Paramore to line-out to Edwards in center for the final out of the game and Bristow's first career save.
"Justin told us he had some innings for us and he did an outstanding job of coming in and getting it done for us," AU Head Coach Tom Slater said.
Dennis (1-0) earned his first win of the season, throwing 2.1 innings and allowing just one hit and two walks while striking out two.
ASU reliever Jason Mitchell (0-1) took the loss, allowing a run in 1.0 innings.
"It felt like an SEC-weekend series out there and that's why we schedule these series," Slater said. "We schedule these to get our teams prepared for the conference season in the coming weeks."
Auburn continues its current 10-game homestand on Tuesday night at 6pm CT with a contest against Davidson.
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