May 13, 2007
AUBURN, Ala. -
Josh Donaldson and Andy Bennett both hit home runs and Donaldson's play behind the plate was a big contributing factor as the Auburn baseball team knocked off No. 1 Vanderbilt, 5-4, on Sunday afternoon at Plainsman Park.
"I am just really glad and proud of our team and the way we continued to battle," Donaldson said. "Vanderbilt is a great team and we were able to hang in there and come up with a win."
Donaldson, who finished the game 2-for-3 with a RBI and two runs scored, took control of the game early for the Tigers, blasting his 10th home run of the season in the third inning off of Vanderbilt starter Cody Crowell to give Auburn a 1-0 lead in the third. But it was his play behind the plate that was even more impressive as he ended Vanderbilt's first half inning by picking off Pedro Alverez off of first, threw Ryan Flaherty out trying to steal second for the second out of the second inning and also gunned down Dominic de la Osa trying to steal second in the fourth. He also got Matt Meingasner trying to steal second in the top of the fifth.
"I have to give a lot of credit to Josh Donaldson," Slater said. "Our tempo wasn't very good in the beginning and he had a really good feel for the hitters so we turned the game over to Donny and our tempo really picked up at that point. Josh did a tremendous job of calling that game. He has a really good baseball mind."
With the game tied at 2-2 going to the bottom of the eighth, Auburn scored three times off of Nick Christiani (5-3) and Casey Weathers to seemingly put the game out of reach. Donaldson led off the inning with a double off the wall in left, just inches from his second home run, and then moved to third on Mike Bianucci's (1-for-3) first sacrifice bunt of the season. Joseph Sanders (1-for-4) drove in Donaldson with an infield single before Bennett (2-for-4) made it a 5-3 game with his first home run of the season, a shot into the "K" Corner in right.
"When I got two strikes on me I wanted to fight and keep battling. I was looking fastball out and trying to hit it away and if they threw a slider maybe it would speed my bat up and that's what happened," Bennett said. "He hung it a little bit and I fortunate enough to deliver a big blow."
Auburn (29-24, 8-19 SEC) allowed things to get interesting in the ninth as Vanderbilt (43-10, 19-8 SEC) scored two runs and moved the tying run to third base before Brett Butts struck out David Macias to end the game.
Butts (2-2) earned the win in relief, throwing the final 3.0 innings.
Bryan Woodall had his second straight solid start for Auburn, lasting 5.0 innings and allowing just one run on four hits. It marked his seventh start this season where he allowed two-or-fewer earned runs.
The Tigers will close out the 2007 season this upcoming week in Lexington, Ky., with a three-game set against Kentucky. The series opener takes place at 7pm ET on Thursday, May, 17 and will be carried on FSN. Friday's game will get underway at 6:30pm ET and the season-finale will start at 1pm ET on Saturday and will also be carried on FSN.