Caldwell's Walk-Off Single Give Auburn 4-3 Win In 11 Innings Over Georgia
May 6, 2011
AUBURN, Ala. - Tony Caldwell's single into right-center with the bases loaded and one out in the bottom of the 11th propelled Auburn to a 4-3 comeback win over Georgia on Friday night at Plainsman Park. The win improved Auburn's record to 24-21, 10-12 SEC while Georgia dropped to 24-22, 13-9 SEC.
Trailing by a run heading to the bottom of the 11th after Georgia's Jonathan Hester (2-for-5, HR) crushed a two-out, two-strike home run in the top half of the inning, Auburn used three singles and a walk to turn around its fortunes. Justin Hargett (2-for-5) led off with a single to left and went to third on a Justin Fradejas (2-for-6) single to right-center. Pinch hitter Jay Gonzalez then drew a five-pitch walk to load the bases with none out.
"I was just trying to get a base hit or a walk or something and I went to the plate trying to simplify my swing and get on base," Hargett said. "That was a big-time inning for us. We left a lot of runners on base tonight (14) but we hit a lot of balls hard tonight that didn't get through for us."
Georgia closer Tyler Maloff (1-1), who leads the nation in saves with 15, struck out Casey McElroy (2-for-6) but then allowed Caldwell to lace one into the gap, allowing Hargett and Fradejas to race home for Auburn's first home Friday night SEC win since defeating Mississippi State on May 7, 2010.
"The thing about baseball is clutch hits in key situations like that in the last inning. Everyone did their job and we came through," Caldwell said. "(Maloof) had a really good two-seam fastball and I was sitting on his fastball because he threw five of them to me in the at-bat before. He threw a curveball first pitch and then backed up and threw another curveball and I was just happy to stay on it and drive it to right field. It's a huge win. It's awesome to come out and get a W on Friday night."
"The last inning we had three opposite field base hits. We knew his (Maloof) fastball was pretty good. We had to go up there with a plan," Auburn Head Coach John Pawlowski said. "Hargett started it off with a base hit and there were some positive at-bats after that."
The two runs made a winner out of Dillon Ortman (1-1), who outside of the home run to Hester, threw a solid 3 2/3 innings behind starter Jon Luke Jacobs as the pair combined to strike out 14 Georgia hitters.
"You can't say enough about what Jon Luke did and Dillon Ortman came in and had two big, big strike outs (in the eighth inning)," Pawlowski said. "This is a good win for our team. Emotionally they stayed with it and it was great to find a way to win a ballgame like that."
Though he was long gone by the time the game was decided, Jacobs had a second consecutive stellar start, striking out nine in 7 1/3 innings, matching his career-high in Ks for the second straight Friday night. During his time on the mound he allowed two runs on seven hits and a walk.
Georgia starter Alex Wood was just as good as Jacobs, allowing two runs (one earned) on eight hits and two walks in seven innings.
Auburn led 1-0 in the second on a Kevin Patterson (1-for-3) RBI groundout before Georgia tied it on a Brandon Stephens (1-for-3) RBI double in the third.
Georgia then went up, 2-1, in the fourth on a Brett DeLoach (1-for-5) solo home run to left before Auburn answered in the bottom of the sixth to tie it at 2-2. Four consecutive singles by Casey McElroy (2-for-6), Caldwell (4-for-5), Wes Gilmer (2-for-3) and Patterson led to the run when Hester couldn't field the ball cleanly on the Patterson single. Auburn had a chance for a big inning but had the first of its two runners thrown out at home during the inning.
Hargett moved into the Auburn record books in with one out in the bottom of the third as he singled to left, giving him 178 career singles, which temporarily tied him for 10th in Auburn history for career singles, before he collected single number 179 in the 11th.
Auburn, which won in extra-innings for the first time this season, will try to clinch the series at 3pm on Saturday when it sends Jr. RHP Derek Varnadore (4-2, 3.92) to the mound opposite Georgia Jr. RHP Michael Palazzone (8-1, 2.14).
Auburn 4, Georgia 3 (May 06, 2011 at Auburn, AL)
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