Patterson Slams No. 24 Auburn Past No. 9 Arkansas, 9-5
March 19, 2011
AUBURN, Ala. - Kevin Patterson's first career grand slam highlighted No. 24 Auburn's six-run fourth inning as it evened its Southeastern Conference baseball series with a 9-5 win over No. 9 Arkansas on Saturday afternoon at Plainsman Park. The victory made a winner out of first-time weekend starter Will Irvin (3-0).
"I thought Will Irvin did a really good job," Auburn Head Coach John Pawlowski said. "Kevin Patterson smoked that ball. He got a pitch he could handle. You have to find different ways to score and I thought we did that today."
Irvin, who entered the game with an unblemished record in four midweek starts, scattered seven hits over six innings, allowing single runs in the second and third but not allowing a runner past second over his final three innings. He finished the game with five strike outs while only issuing one walk.
"I was just letting my team battle and trying to put zeros up on the board so they could get back in there and score some runs," Irvin said.
"Will battled hard. We were down 2-0 and didn't have anything going on and he kept going out there and gave us some innings to work with and he went deep in the game for us," Pawlowski said.
Trailing 2-0 after three, Auburn (13-6, 1-1 SEC) had six consecutive hitters reach base safely to open the fourth, chasing Arkansas (15-3, 1-1 SEC) starter Brandon Morre (2-1) after a Brooks Beisner ((1-for-2, BB, R) double following Patterson's slam. Things did not get any better for reliever Ryne Stanek as Auburn would bring Beisner home on a Justin Hargett (0-for-4, SAC, RBI) one-out squeeze to make it 6-0.
"The pitch was a changeup," Patterson said of the home run. "He threw me two in a row. I fouled the first one off and I figured I wasn't going to see a fastball so I just try to stay on it. I got out in front of the first one but got a hold of the second one."
Auburn increased its lead to 8-2 in the fifth as Creede Simpson (1-for-2, SF, 2 RBI) scorched a two-run double down the line in left, scoring Wes Gilmer (1-for-3, BB, 2R) from second and pinch runner Jay Gonzalez from first when Arkansas left fielder Kyle Robinson couldn't field the ball cleanly in the corner.
A Simpson sacrifice fly in the seventh to score Tony Caldwell (1-for-3, BB, R, RBI) made it 9-2.
Arkansas made things interesting with a three-run ninth off of Sean Ray, prompting the move to Zach Blatt with the bases loaded and two outs. After walking in a run to make it 9-5 he got a pop-up to McElroy at short to pick up his second save of the season and the week.
Both McElroy and Gilmer extended their hitting streaks in the game. McElroy has now hit in 14 straight while Gilmer has hit in 13 consecutive.
The two teams will play the rubber match at 1pm on Sunday. Jr. RHP Derek Varnadore (3-0, 2.79 ERA) gets the start for Auburn opposite So. LHP Cade Lynch (2-0, 1.35). Prior to the game, Auburn will recognize the 1967 College World Series Team with an on-field ceremony.
Auburn 9, Arkansas 5 (Mar 19, 2011 at Auburn, AL)
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