March 21, 2014
Dillon Ortman earned his fifth win of the season Friday night at Tennessee. (Danny Parker photo)
KNOXVILLE, Tenn. - Auburn got seven strong innings from senior Dillon Ortman and held off a late Tennessee rally in a 3-2 win Friday night at Lindsey Nelson Stadium.
The Tigers (16-7, 3-1 SEC) were able to get out of three bases-loaded jams to win for the 10th time in 11 games.
The Tigers and Vols will play the second game of the weekend series at 3 p.m. CT Saturday. Auburn freshman RHP Keegan Thompson (4-0, 0.69) will get the call, and he will face Tennessee freshman RHP Hunter Martin (2-0, 0.73).
Saturday's game will be televised by CSS with Mike Morgan and Rusty Ensor on the call. The game can also be viewed via ESPN3.com.
Ortman (5-1) pitched into the eighth inning, giving up a pair of runs that scored after he left the game and scattering six hits while striking out seven. With his fifth win of the season, he has matched his career win total coming into the season.
With Auburn clinging to a 3-2 lead headed to the ninth, Tennessee got a leadoff base hit off Trey Cochran-Gill, sending Auburn to the bullpen for closer Terrance Dedrick. After a groundout, two straight walks loaded the bases for the Vols with one out. But Keegan Thompson fielded a chopper to first base and came home for the force for the second out, and a fly ball to right ended the threat as Tennessee left the bases loaded for the third time in the game. Dedrick earned his second save of the year.
Relieved Auburn coach Sunny Golloway said he welcomed the win, but he said work remains for his first Auburn team.
"To walk guys there in the ninth and give them a chance was disappointing," Golloway said. "... Even when we get the lead early I thought our bats were a little lazy. We've got to have intensity. I challenged our team. Are we here to win a game or are we here to try to win the league? I want them to do some soul-searching tonight. Do you want to be just good or do you want to be champions? We're going to have to take a big step if we want to be champions."
Auburn jumped out to a 2-0 lead with a two-out rally in the first. After Damek Tomscha worked a six-pitch walk and Tella reached on a hard-hit infield single, Austin ripped a double to the wall in right-center to bring both runners home.
The Tigers tacked on another in the sixth, again with two outs. Austin was hit by a pitch to lead off the inning, moved to second on a one-out sacrifice bunt by Damon Haecker, then scored as Thompson ripped a two-out single to left to give Auburn a 3-0 lead.
Tennessee threatened twice early, loading the bases in the first and fifth innings, but came away empty as Ortman pitched out of both jams. He induced a groundout to end the first, then got a flyout to centerfield in the fifth.
The Vols finally got to Ortman as he topped the 100-pitch mark in the eighth. A pair of leadoff singles chased the Auburn starter for Cochran-Gill, and a pair of groundouts brought the first Tennessee run across the plate to make it 3-1. One batter later, Christin Stewart pushed a two-out single to right, scoring Will Maddox to pull Tennessee within a run at 3-2.
Ortman, who pitched a complete game in Auburn's victory over Texas A&M last Friday, said he felt strong from the start.
"I felt great," Ortman said. "It was a little wind and a cold night, but I got through it. I had to deal with some adversity at the beginning a little bit. I don't know how many runners they left on base, but I guarantee you it was a lot.
"My goal was just to stay tough in those situations. They get runners on, and I can't show any weakness."
When Glevenyak was hit by pitch in the fifth inning, it kept alive a streak of Auburn being hit by a pitch at least once in every game so far in 2014.
Nick Williams (3-2) took the loss for Tennessee, giving up three runs on six hits in eight innings of work. Scott Price and Christin Stewart led the Vols with two hits apiece.