Wacker's Heroics Lead Auburn To 3-2 Win At No. 12 Ole Miss
March 18, 2012
OXFORD, Miss. - Cullen Wacker drove in the game-tying run with a ninth-inning, two-out double and that was after the left fielder robbed Ole Miss of a two-run home run in the bottom of the fifth as Auburn rallied with two ninth-inning runs to win 3-2 at No. 12 Ole Miss on Sunday. The win gave Auburn the series victory and upped the team's record to 12-8, 2-1 SEC while Ole Miss fell to 15-5, 1-2 SEC.
"The whole weekend was back-and-forth where one pitch or one play could have made the difference," Auburn Head Coach John Pawlowski said. "What a great comeback for our guys. (Ole Miss starter Mike Mayers) stuffed us for a major part of the game. We were down to two strikes with two outs in the ninth but the guys kept battling. Cullen Wacker and Garrett Cooper really stepped up and we had quality at bats when we really needed it the most."
Facing a 2-2 count with two outs in the ninth against Mayers, Ryan Tella laced a double down the line in left to put an Auburn runner in scoring position for just the second time all day. Wacker, who finished with three of Auburn's seven hits, then worked a 2-1 count before lining a RBI double to the wall down the right field line to tie it at 2-2. Ole Miss then went to its closer, Brett Huber, and got Garrett Cooper into a 1-2 hole before the first baseman singled back up the middle, driving in Wacker from second to put Auburn up 3-2.
"I was just trying to drive in Tella from second any way I could," Wacker said. "I was thinking the other way. They had been pitching me backdoor sliders the whole game and he came in with one. It got back over the plate and I was able to turn on it and put it down in the corner. As soon as it left the bat I knew it was down and we had tied the ballgame."
Ole Miss would not go down easy, getting the tying run to second with one out in the ninth but Auburn closer Justin Bryant was able to get a strike out and a pop-up to seal the win for Auburn. The save was the second of the year for Bryant.
Auburn took a 1-0 lead in the third as Caleb Bowen doubled and scored on a Jay Gonzalez sac fly. Ole Miss answered with two runs in the bottom of the frame as Blake Newalu led off the inning with a home run to left and was followed by a Tanner Mathis triple. A RBI groundout by Alex Yarbrough gave Ole Miss the 2-1 lead, which it would hold until the ninth.
Wacker's defensive gem in left-center ended the fifth as he robbed Will Allen of a two-run home run, bringing it back in from over the fence to keep it a one-run deficit.
"It was a 3-0 count and I didn't know if he was going to be swinging or seeing a pitch. He took a hack at it and I was surprised by it at first. The ball just kept on going and going and I just got back to the wall, felt the wall and the ball just dropped in the glove when I jumped," Wacker said. "It was probably two or three feet over the wall. It would have been out of here."
Cory Luckie (1-0) earned the win out of the Auburn bullpen, throwing two scoreless innings before turning it over to Bryant following a leadoff walk in the ninth.
Mayers (2-2) took the loss despite scattering six hits over eight innings without allowing a walk, striking out five but surrendering all three Auburn runs.
Auburn starter Daniel Koger did not factor into the decision but has his third quality start of the season, working six innings and allowing two runs on six hits and a walk, striking out two.
Auburn returns home for its next four games, beginning Tuesday at 6pm against South Alabama.
Auburn 3, Ole Miss 2 (Mar 18, 2012 at Oxford, MS)
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