Wacker Delivers Game-Winning Hit In 6-5 Victory
March 9, 2012
AUBURN, Ala. - Cullen Wacker delivered a game-winning RBI single in the bottom of the ninth to score Jay Gonzalez from second as the Auburn baseball team claimed a 6-5 win over Belmont on Friday night at Plainsman Park. The win upped Auburn's record to 9-6 while Belmont fell to 8-6.
"Winning comes in a lot of different ways and we found a way to come back today," Auburn Head Coach John Pawlowski said. "We rallied in the ninth and it was good for our club to do that. It was a very tough ballgame for us."
Tied at 5-5 in the ninth after Belmont scored a pair of runs in the top half of the inning, Gonzalez reached on an error by Belmont third baseman Greg Brody. Gonzalez then stole second, his 14th of the season, to get into scoring position. After a one-out intentional walk to Ryan Tella, Wacker worked a 3-1 count off of Belmont reliever Scott Moses (1-1) and lined one into right. Belmont right fielder Drew Turner came up throwing and had a chance to make a play at the plate but his thrown was slightly up the first base line and catcher Jamie Ritchie's tag was just high enough that Gonzalez was able to slide in under the tag for the win.
"I came up there with the idea of just putting the ball in play somewhere and I did," Wacker said. "At first I thought they were going to pitch around me. He left the 3-1 pitch up over the plate just enough for me to put the bat on it and find a hole."
Wacker finished the game 2-for-4 with a walk and pair of RBIs, also driving in Simpson with the game's first run in the bottom of the first.
"Cullen has a lot of poise at the plate. He came through with a big hit there and also made a real nice play in left field," Pawlowski said. "He has settled in to the top half of the order and done a great job for us."
Creede Simpson was 3-for- 5 with a double, a run scored and two stolen bases, extending his streak of reaching base safely to 19 straight dating to last season.
"Creede has done a really good job for us, not only defensively, he made a really nice play up the middle, but he is swinging the bat well," Pawlowski said.
Following Wacker's first-inning RBI, Zach Alvord (2-for-4) pushed the lead to three runs with his first home run of the season, a blast to left that put Auburn up 3-0.
Belmont would tie it off of Auburn starter Derek Varnadore in the next half inning, taking advantage of a walk, a hit batter, a double and an error to make it 3-3.
Auburn answered with a two-run bottom of the third to go up 5-3 as Patrick Savage singled in a run and Dan Glevenyak, who finished the game 2-for-4 to extend his hitting streak to eight games, scored on a throwing error by Belmont starter Chase Brookshire.
Belmont tied the game off of Justin Bryant (1-0) in the ninth as he hit a batter and allowed a Jared Breen double before a pair of sac flies tied it at 5-5.
Varnadore worked six innings, allowing three runs on four hits and two walks with four strike outs while Brookshire lasted 6 2/3 innings, allowing five runs (four earned) on 10 hits and two walks, striking out five.
Tella finished the night 0-for-4 with a walk, ending his eight-game hitting streak.
Auburn will try to clinch the series victory on Saturday. First pitch is set for 3pm.
Auburn 6, Belmont 5 (Mar 09, 2012 at Auburn, AL)
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