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'Really battling': Auburn falls, but wins weekend series
May 1, 2016

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Damon Haecker paced Auburn with three hits and three RBIs Sunday
Damon Haecker paced Auburn with three hits and three RBIs Sunday

By Charles Goldberg

AUBURN, Ala. ― Auburn coach Butch Thompson said he liked the aggressive play of his baseball team over the weekend that that included close plays at the plate, home runs and taking two of three games from nationally-ranked team.

Auburn won the weekend series over No. 22 Kentucky, though the Wildcats won Sunday's finale 9-6 in front of 2,846 fans in Plainsman Park.

The series involved aggressive plays, including two at the plate in successive days. Outfielder Auburn's Jordan Ebert threw out a runner at home Saturday night on a hustle play. Sunday, Auburn's Kyler Deese was ejected for trying to score on a contested play at the plate.

"Both teams didn't play perfect, but both teams were really battling," Thompson said. "They were trying to win the game and we were trying to win another one."

Thompson chalked up the ejection, the result of Deese barreling into the catcher, as a "hard-fought baseball play, and I think the right call was made."

The game was tied at 1-1 after four innings. Kentucky took a 4-1 lead in the fifth, and upped the advantage to 9-1 in the seventh. The Tigers battled back, scoring two in the eighth and three in the ninth. The game ended with the tying run at the plate.

"I keep talking to the guys about continuing to play that style of play. I think we're playing hard," Thompson said.

Auburn was aggressive trying to make plays, some good, some not as good.

"If we continue to do that," Thompson said, "we'll live with our imperfections."

Anfernee Grier was aggressive at the plate over the weekend, going 7-for 13 with eight RBIs. Damon Haecker went 3-for-4 Sunday with three RBIs and was 7-for-10 over the weekend.

Ebert and Blake Logan drove in Auburn's other run. Grier, Melvin Gray and Ebert ― the three in the batting order ― combined to go 6-for-13. Kentucky's JaVon Shelby countered part of that with two homers and four RBIs.

Auburn starter Ben Braymer allowed three runs in four innings.

"As far as SEC play, this is by far the best he's looked," Thompson said.

Kyle Cody improved to 5-2. Braymer fell to 3-4.

Kentucky improved to 27-17 overall and 11-10 in the Southeastern Conference. Auburn fell to 21-23 overall 7-14 in the SEC. The Tigers will return to action Friday to start a three-game series against Alabama in Tuscaloosa.

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



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