Six-Run Eighth Lifts Auburn Past Kentucky, 12-9
April 8, 2011
LEXINGTON, Ky. - Casey McElroy finished the night 4-for-5 with a career-high five RBIs, including a two-run double in Auburn's six-run eighth as, the Auburn baseball team claimed a 12-9 win at Kentucky on Friday night, snapping a six-game conference losing streak.
"I thought our team battled back, they grinded out this win tonight," Auburn Head Coach John Pawlowski said. "We needed a win and it's great to see these guys get a W tonight."
Trailing 7-6 after Kentucky (16-15, 2-9 SEC) scored three times in the seventh on a pair of home runs, Auburn (16-14, 3-7 SEC) ran through four different Kentucky pitchers in the eighth, collecting four singles, a double, two walks and an error by Kentucky right fielder Lucas Witt on a Creede Simpson pop-up down the line to take a commanding 12-7 lead..
Justin Hargett and Justin Fradejas each singled to start the inning before Simpson's at-bat loaded the bases. McElroy's double put Auburn up, 8-7, with runners in scoring position for Dan Gamache, who drew a walk to reload the bases. A walk by Tony Caldwell gave Auburn a two-run cushion before Wes Gilmer drove in two with a single. Kevin Patterson capped the six-run inning with a RBI single into the corner in right.
"We have been struggling with guys on base lately and I think it just took one hit with guys on base to kind of get us over that hump, or at least me over that hump, to really relax and know my game," McElroy said.
Ethan Wallen (2-3) was the beneficiary of the six-run eighth to pick up his first win since March 20 against Arkansas, which was also Auburn's last SEC win.
Patterson, who launched a first-pitch leadoff home run in the fourth that tied the game at 4-4, finished the night 4-for-5 with two RBI.
"The last two weekends have been a nightmare both pitching and hitting and coming out here and banging out some hits and putting up some runs was huge for us," Patterson said.
Auburn got to Kentucky starter Alex Meyer early and often, tagging the Kentucky ace for a career-high 11 hits, scoring six runs in six innings off the right hander. Though he didn't factor into the decision, he allowed a pair of first-inning runs as McElroy and Caldwell (1-for-4, 3 RBI) each drove in runs with singles.
Kentucky scored six of its nine off of home runs as Braden Kapteyn popped a three-run home run in the first off Auburn starter Andrew Morris and J.T. Riddle hit a two-run shot and Luke Maile hit a solo shot of Zach Blatt in the seventh to put Kentucky up, 7-6.
Though Blatt didn't figure into the decision, his career-long 5 1/3 innings helped Auburn managed the early part of the game as he entered for an ineffective Morris in the second and did not allow a run until the three in the seventh. In the process he struck out a career-high five.
"I told Zach that he just needed to find a way to keep the game close," Pawlowski said. "I felt like we were going to score some runs. I felt like we had a really good approach at the plate today early in the game."
Dillon Ortman recorded the final three outs of the night to pick up his first save, entering with two runs in and a man on second with none out in the ninth before retiring all three hitters he faced.
Kapteyn finished the night 3-for-4 with four RBIs in the loss.
Nick Kennedy (0-1) took the loss for Kentucky as he was charged with the game-winning run despite facing just one batter.
Auburn will attempt to claim the series victory on Saturday night when it sends Jr. RHP Derek Varnadore (3-1, 3.38 ERA) to the mound opposite Fr. LHP Corey Littrell (4-1, 4.82). First pitch is scheduled for 5:30pm CT.
Auburn 12, Kentucky 9 (Apr 08, 2011 at Lexington, KY)
Follow Auburn baseball on twitter at twitter.com/AUTigerBaseball.
More Auburn Football Headlines
More Auburn Headlines