May 13, 2006
AUBURN, Ala. -
A pair of unearned runs proved to be the difference as Auburn fell to #16 Georgia, 4-3, on Saturday night at Plainsman Park. The unearned runs spoiled what was a very good outing by AU freshman pitcher Evan Crawford, who pitched 7.0 strong innings for the Tigers.
"All losses are tough, and this certainly was a tough one," AU Head Coach Tom Slater said. "I thought we pitched extremely well and I thought our kids battled at the plate against a very quality starter. Evan was really good tonight, maybe as good as he has been [all year]. I thought the fastball for strikes, the curveball and the change-up, all three were probably as sharp and as good as he's been."
After allowing a one-out home run to Jason Jacobs in the second, Crawford pitched extremely well for the Tigers, retiring the next eight batters he faced. However, Auburn's defense let Crawford down in the fifth as Georgia scored a pair of unearned runs with two outs to take a 3-2 lead on the Tigers.
Auburn (22-30, 9-17 SEC) had rallied to take a lead on Georgia for the second time in two days as Andy Bennett's RBI single in the third tied the game up at 1-1 and then Justin Bristow's RBI double down the line in left gave the Tigers a 2-1 lead after four.
The Bulldogs (34-16, 15-11 SEC) tacked on what proved to be the difference in the top of the sixth as Josh Morris singled, stole second, moved to third on Bobby Felmy's single and scored as Tyler Johnstone's try for Felmy at first went wide of the bag.
Auburn had a chance to have a big inning in the seventh as Johnstone led off with a walk, stole second and moved to third on Luke Greinke's single through the right side. UGA starter Brooks Brown then struck out Mike Bianucci before giving way to Rip Warren out of the pen. Warren struck out Bennett before allowing an RBI single to Donaldson to make it 4-3 Bulldogs, but Russell Dixon flew out to center to end the threat.
Crawford (5-7) exited the game after seven complete, having allowed four runs, only two of which were earned, on seven hits and two walks while striking out five.
The AU bullpen continued to be a strong point for the Tigers as Johnny Thompson pitched 2.0 perfect innings, striking out a career-high four.
Auburn had another good chance in the ninth as Johnstone walked to lead off the inning and moved to second on Greinke's team-leading 10th sacrifice bunt. Georgia then went to closer Joshua Fields, who walked Bianucci but got Bennett to pop up to short and struckout Josh Donaldson to end the game.
Fields earned his SEC-leading 12th save of the year with his 0.2 innings of work while Brown moved to 6-3 on the year as he surrendered three runs on seven hits in 6.1 innings.
The two teams will play the final game of the series at 1 p.m. CT on Sunday. Throwing for the Tigers will be junior righty Chris Dennis (3-5) while Georgia is expected to send lefty Nathan Moreau (6-1) to the hill. The game will be televised live on CSS.