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Auburn has big finish to beat No. 22 Kentucky again

Jackson Burgreen is in his full-throttle home run trot for Auburn. (Auburn Athletics Photo)

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By Charles Goldberg

AUBURN, Ala. -- Jackson Burgreen said he doesn't have a good feel for his home run swing.

"I don’t hit enough home runs to know when a ball is going out or when it's not," he said. "I just run hard to first and when that outfielder doesn’t get to it, I’m as happy as can be."

Color the swinging Auburn Tigers happy on Saturday night. Burgeen's 2-run homer in the third inning, a big 4-run inning in the eighth and a shutdown three-inning performance by reliever Casey Mize carried Auburn over No. 22 Kentucky 10-6 Saturday night in Plainsman Park. The Tigers will go for an SEC sweep in Sunday's 1 p.m. series finale.

It was comeback Saturday for Auburn, which trailed 5-0 in the second and found itself in a 6-6 tie going to the bottom of the eighth. That's when Kentucky went wild, throwing 12 straight balls at one point, with Auburn taking the lead on a wild pitch and stretching the advantage on a 2-run single by Cody Nulph and Anfernee Grier's single, which drove in his fourth run of the game and eighth run in the last two days.

Jackson's homer was his second of the year.

"We did the typical five and came back and scored 10 by the end of the game," said Auburn coach Butch Thompson.

But Auburn's defense was sound enough, especially on an outfield assist from Jordan Ebert, nabbing a runner at home in the fourth inning.

Starter Justin Camp allowed three earned runs in a tough 4 2/3 innings.

"Justin Camp just battles for us, even after the tough start," Thompson said.

Auburn turned to Gabe Klobosits for an inning and a third, and then Mize, who would have been Sunday's starter had he not been called on to win the game Saturday. He did, improving to 2-2.

"I told him the plan to go either way because I'm going to give him a chance to win a ballgame with pitching in the moment," Thompson said. "Casey finished that ballgame for us, which was huge."

Thompson said the comeback win, and the atmosphere in front of 3,398 fans, made the win special.

"When I got this opportunity, I envisioned weekends being like this," Thompson said.

“We’re having the most fun right now we’ve had all year, I'll tell you that," Burgreen said.

Auburn improved to 20-23 overall and 7-13 in the Southeastern Conference. Kentucky fell to 26-17 overall and 10-10 in the league.

Grier finished 2-for-4 to push his batting average to .399. Jackson went 2-for-3. Kyler Deese drove in Auburn's other run. Eight Tigers had at least one hit.

Charles Goldberg on is a Senior Writer at Follow him on Twitter: Follow @AUGoldMine




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