March 11, 2009
AUBURN, Ala. -
Auburn jumped out to an 11-0 lead after just two innings, padding its home run total with three on the night to up the season total to 33, en route to an 11-7 win over Western Kentucky on Wednesday at Plainsman Park. Freshman Dexter Price picked up his third straight midweek win to move to 3-0 on the year as Auburn (11-4) has now won nine straight games for the first time since the 2004 season.
"I thought we were ready to play early. We put up 11 runs in the first two innings and then we went flat from there on out offensively," Auburn Head Coach John Pawlowski said. "I challenged the team again and we have a lot to learn as we go through the course of a season, but a win is a win and we will certainly take it."
Trent Mummey, who entered the game as the national leader in runs scored with 29, added a run on two hits and a walk, smoking his team-best eighth home run of the season to lead off the bottom of the first, his third lead-off home run in the last six games. The home run also extended his hitting streak to a personal-best 14 games.
Still in the first, Joseph Sanders singled and Hunter Morris doubled him in before Brian Fletcher homered to right center, his fifth of the year, to put Auburn up 4-0 with just one down in the inning. Kevin Patterson followed Fletcher's shot with a deep drive of his own, depositing his third home run of the season into the Western Kentucky bullpen in right-center.
Auburn was not done with its first-inning scoring as Casey McElroy doubled and came home on Justin Hargett's single for a 6-0 lead. With the six runs in the first, Auburn has now outscored its opponents 24-3 in the first inning.
Not content to be up six, Auburn capitalized on three base hits, two hit batters and a walk to put five more on the board in the second. Sanders led off the inning with a double, his fifth of the season, and Ben Jones
was hit by a pitch to put runners on first and second. A walk to Fletcher loaded the bases for Patterson, whose single through the right side scored two, knocking Western Kentucky starter Kes Carter (1-1) out of the game after just 1 1/3 innings with Auburn up 8-0.
Bart Carter relieved him and hit the first hitter he faced in Tony Caldwell to reload the bases before Casey McElroy's sac fly to center made it 9-0. A double by Hargett scored Patterson and Caldwell, charging Kes Carter with 10 runs on nine hits and a walk to take the loss.
Auburn's offense went silent from there, collecting just two hits over the final six frames, with both coming in the eighth inning, while Western Kentucky (9-4) started to make some noise, knocking in three runs on a pair of home runs in the fourth and then scoring another in the sixth as WKU's cleanup hitter Chad Cregar smoked his second home run of the night and eighth of the season, effectively ending Price's night after 5 1/3 innings and Auburn up 11-4.
"We jumped out early and had a bunch of good swings but we kind of flat-lined after that," Hargett said. "Luckily we had enough runs to keep us ahead for the rest of the game. We got the job done and it's good to get the win."
Price and fellow Auburn hurler Ty Kelley surrendered 11 hits combined and were tagged for six earned runs but were aided defensively by a season-high three double plays, two of which ended innings.
With two on and none out in the ninth, Rus Harper relieved Kelley, allowing both of his inherited runners to score along with another run for the final margin.
The last time Auburn won as many as nine straight games was in 2004 when it ran off 10 consecutive wins from Feb. 22 - March 9.
Auburn's 33 home runs this season ranks 26th all-time in Auburn history and the team still has 40 regular season games remaining on its schedule.
Auburn will begin Southeastern Conference action this weekend in Knoxville, Tenn., for a three-game set with the Volunteers. Game times are set for 6pm, 3pm and noon CT from Lindsey Nelson Stadium.
Auburn 11, Western Kentucky 7 (Mar 11, 2009 at Auburn, Ala.)
Western Kentucky.... 000 301 003 - 7 13 0 (9-4)
Auburn.............. 650 000 00X - 11 12 3 (11-4)
Win-Dexter Price(3-0) Loss-Carter, Kes(1-1) T-2:34 A-2061
HR WKU - Cregar, Chad 2 (8); Rice, Matt (2).
HR AU - Trent Mummey (8); Brian Fletcher (5); Kevin Patterson (3).
Box Score in PDF Format