April 21, 2006
GAINESVILLE, Fla. -
Auburn scored seven runs in the top of the second inning and Luke Greinke went 3-for-5 at the plate with a run and two RBIs before nailing it down on the mound with a scoreless ninth as the Tigers defeated Florida, 9-6, in the series opener at McKethan Stadium on Friday night to snap a six-game losing streak to the Gators.
"We had outstanding pitching and I thought we swung the bats well and were able to put some runs up on the board tonight," AU Head Coach Tom Slater said. "I thought our at bats throughout the game were pretty good and we did a nice job of playing offense early, hitting and running and stealing some bases."
Greinke delivered a two-out, two RBI single in AU's seven-run second before pitching a scoreless ninth to earn his team-leading fifth save of the season as Auburn moved to 19-22, 7-9 SEC on the year.
After scoring a single-run in the top of the first off of an RBI single by Mike Bianucci (2-for-5, 2B, R, 2 RBI), Auburn opened up the flood gates on the Gators, sending 12 men to the plate and scoring seven runs on seven hits in the top of the second.
Greinke opened the second by singling and scoring on a wild pitch before closing out the scoring in the inning with his RBI single. In between there was a one-out RBI single by Tyler Johnstone (2-for-5, 2 R, 2 RBI) that scored Justin Bristow (1-for-4, R) and Josh Stapleton (1-for-3, R) to move the score to 4-0 Tigers and a two-RBI double by Andy Bennett (2-for-5, 2B, R, 2 RBI) that brought the score to 6-0.
Florida got back into the game with three unearned runs in the bottom of the third and two runs in the bottom of the fourth but once again Paul Burnside came in and shut down an opponent, not surrendering a hit in 3.0 innings.
"Paul Burnside, what can you say, he just continues to have great relief outing for us," Slater said.
AU's Brett Butts (3-5) pitched 5.0 innings in the start, allowing six runs, only three of which were earned, on eight hits and two walks while striking out three to earn his first career SEC win. The win was also Butts' first since March 11 vs. Birmingham Southern.
"I thought Brett did a great job in the start, giving us five solid innings," Slater said. "Brett's ability to throw the changeup really kept the Gators off balance in the early stages of the game. When his changeup is working he has a chance to run through some innings for us."
Russell Dixon (2-for-4, HR) hit his fourth home run of the season, a shot to right-center, to put the Tigers ahead, 9-6.
The loss dropped the Gators to 23-19, 5-11 SEC.
The two teams will get back on the diamond at 3 p.m. CT on Saturday afternoon in a game that will be broadcast as the SEC-TV Game of the Week on FSN. Throwing from the hill for the Tigers will be freshman lefty Evan Crawford (4-4) while the Gators will send sophomore righty Bryan Augenstein (7-3) to the hill.