April 9, 2011
LEXINGTON, Ky. - Tony Caldwell homered three times and drove in a career high seven RBIs as Auburn defeated Kentucky, 15-8, on Saturday night at Cliff Hagan Stadium to claim its second SEC series victory of the season and improve to 17-14, 4-7 SEC.
"The ball was carrying a little bit and we were fortunate to put some good swings on it," Auburn Head Coach John Pawlowski said. "We were down 6-3 and we jumped right back into it and took it from there. It was a really solid offensive approach tonight."
Caldwell, who drove in three runs in Friday's 12-9 win, homered to lead off the fourth, hit a two-run home run in the sixth and hit a three-run home run in the ninth, finishing the night with a career-high five hits in five trips to the plate, also driving in a run with a first-inning single.
"Last night I thought about Casey's (McElroy) game yesterday and pretty much every day he is consistent with it. Today I just came open-minded and I was seeing the ball really well," Caldwell said. "The ball is flying here. I got some good pitches and didn't miss them and I was fortunate to hit the ball like I did today."
"To do what Tony did today was just tremendous," Pawlowski said. "He did a great job behind the plate too, he has been a leader."
The Auburn offense as a whole finished the night with a season-high 20 hits and five home runs, the first time Auburn has reached those numbers since the 18-4 win at Ole Miss on May 21st of last season when it clinched the SEC West.
Cory Luckie threw the final four innings to pick up his second career save and his first since his freshman year of 2008, entering with Auburn up a run, 7-6, allowing two runs on four hits and two walks while matching his career-high with nine strike outs. The two runs didn't come until the ninth as he retired nine of the first 11 hitters he faced, striking out six of them.
"I was really focusing on throwing strikes down in the zone," Luckie said. "Anytime you can throw your off-speed for strikes it really gives you a little leeway with everything else. I was having a little trouble spotting my fastball but when you are spotting your off-speed stuff it makes it look a little harder."
"We really needed someone to pick us up and Cory has really been throwing the ball well," Pawlowski said. "He had command of his breaking ball and his change-up and he located his fastball when he needed to."
Also homering for Auburn was Casey McElroy (3-for-5, 2 RBI, 3 R), who hit a two-run shot with one out in the seventh, and Creede Simpson (3-for-5, 2 2B, 2 RBI, 3 R), who launched a solo shot with one out in the ninth.
Down 6-3 after the bottom of the fifth, Auburn took the lead with a four-run sixth to make a winner out of Derek Varnadore (4-1). For Varnadore it was his first career SEC win and his first since a seven-inning outing at the College of Charleston on March 13 as he went five innings, allowing six runs (four earned) on six hits and a walk, striking out four.
Caldwell's sixth-inning homer drew Auburn to within a run, 6-5, before Justin Hargett's (1-for-5, 2 RBI) two-run single gave Auburn the lead for good as Auburn scored 12 unanswered runs off of the Kentucky bullpen.
Kentucky (16-16, 2-9 SEC) also used the longball in the game, hitting three home runs off Varnadore. Thomas McCarthy (2-for-4, 2 RBI) and Dallen Reber (2-for-4) both hit solo home runs off of Varnardore in the fourth to give Kentucky a 4-3 lead and then Chad Wright (2-for-4, 3 RBI) hit a two-run shot in the fifth.
Corey Littrell (4-2) took the loss for Kentucky, allowing seven runs on 11 hits with five strike outs.
Auburn will try to complete its first SEC sweep of the season on Sunday when it sends Jr. RHP Jon Luke Jacobs (1-2, 2.55 ERA) to the mound opposite Kentucky So. LHP Taylor Rogers (2-3, 5.05). Auburn's last sweep of Kentucky came in 2003 in Lexington.
Sunday's game starts at noon CT and will air live on CSS and ESPN3.com.
Auburn 15, Kentucky 8 (Apr 09, 2011 at Lexington, KY)
Auburn.............. 200 104 215 - 15 20 1 (17-14, 4-7 SEC)
Kentucky............ 200 220 002 - 8 10 0 (16-16, 2-9 SEC)
Win-Derek Varnadore(4-1) Save-Cory Luckie(1) Loss-Corey Littrell(4-2) T-3:01 A-1955
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