May 12, 2007
AUBURN, Ala. -
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Auburn came back on the No. 1 Vanderbilt baseball team with a two-run ninth inning rally to send the game into extra innings before falling, 6-5, on Saturday at Plainsman Park. Andy Bennett was 3-for-4 and drove in the game-tying run in the ninth for Auburn.
"All I can talk about is how resilient and tough-minded our players are and how they came out and played a good baseball game today. Even when they were down late, to come back and tie the game off of (Casey) Weathers, who is one of the top closers in the country, says a lot about this team," Auburn Head Coach Tom Slater said.
After waiting through a one hour, 30 minute lightning delay, Vanderbilt (43-9, 19-7) got right to work on Auburn's Brett Butts (1-2). Ryan Davis led off with a double to right-center and moved to third on Brad French's sacrifice bunt. Butts then got Shea Robin to ground out to third but a passed ball on a change-up allowed Davis to scamper home with the game-winning run.
Auburn (28-24, 7-19) had sent the game into extra innings with a two-run, ninth-inning rally, scoring both runs of Vanderbilt's Weathers. Luke Greinke (2-for-5, R) started the rally with a one-out single up the middle before moving to second on a wild pitch. Josh Donaldson's (2-for-5, 2B, 2 R, RBI) single to right scored Greinke to make it 5-4 with still just one down. Mike Bianucci (3-for-4, 2B, HR, R, 2 RBI) followed with a single through the left side of the infield and then Bennett tied the game with a single to left. Weather's kept the game going as he induced Robert Brooks to ground into an inning-ending double play before the game was halted for the delay.
Bianucci had started the game off with his 14th home run of the season, a two-run shot off the Coca-Cola advertising panel on the scoreboard in left-center to give Auburn a 2-0 lead after one.
Vanderbilt answered with a run in the top of the second as Pedro Alvarez matched Bianucci's blast with a shot of his own to lead off the inning.
Auburn reclaimed its two-run lead in the fourth as Ryan Jenkins (1-for-3, R) scored from first on Philip Stringer's (1-for-4, 2B, RBI) double to left-center, making it 3-1.
Vanderbilt took its first lead of the game in the top of the fifth with three runs as Robin drove in a run with a RBI groundout to short and then David Macias and Dominic de la Osa both drove in runs with RBI doubles.
Vanderbilt tacked on what proved to be a very important run in the top of the ninth on de la Osa's 15th homer of the season.
Neither starter figured into the outcome as Taylor Thompson lasted 4.1 innings for Auburn, allowing four runs on eight hits, and Vanderbilt's Mike Minor went 4.2 innings, surrendering three runs on seven hits with five strikeouts.
Austin Hubbard threw a very solid 2.2 innings in relief of Thompson for Auburn, scattering three hits and a walk, while Ty Davis matched him with 3.1 innings of one-hit relief.
"I thought Taylor (Thompson) was very solid for the first four innings and Austin (Hubbard) came in and did a tremendous job," Slater said.
Weathers (10-2) earned the win for Vanderbilt, surrendering two runs in the ninth inning before coming back out for the 10th after the delay and getting Auburn to go in order.
The two teams will play the final game of the series beginning at 1:30pm CT on Sunday. Vanderbilt will send Fr. LHP Cody Crowell (2-1, 4.43) while Auburn will counter with So. RHP Bryan Woodall (2-2, 4.81). The game is scheduled to air on Sirius Satellite Radio, channel 123.