May 13, 2008
MACON, Ga. -
Box Score in PDF Format
Auburn's 11-run fourth-inning, highlighted by home runs by Matt Hall, his fourth, Joseph Sanders, his fifth, and Kevin Patterson, also his fifth, erased a five-run deficit as Auburn sent 14 hitters to the plate in the inning en route to a 18-6 win at Mercer in the final non-conference game of the season for Auburn. Michael Hurst threw a career-long 5.0 innings to pick up the win for Auburn, which moved to 28-25 on the year.
Auburn finished the night with a season-high 18 runs on a season-high 19 hits and the three homers gave Auburn 53 dingers on the year, the 10th-most in a single season in Auburn history. Auburn also hit seven doubles on the night to up its total to 129 on the year, eighth-most in a single season with three regular-season games to play.
Sanders finished the night a perfect 5-for-5 with two singles, two doubles, a home run and a walk with five RBI, finishing a triple shy of the circle.
"This was a night where things were going well," Sanders said. "Hitting is contagious and I was seeing it real well and getting good swings at the plate tonight."
Auburn's big fourth started with a Sanders double, which was followed by Hall's blast. David Cunningham singled to keep the rally going and that was followed by back-to-back-to-back walks to Patterson, Tony Caldwell and Trent Mummey. Brian Fletcher then singled to keep the bases loaded and Hunter Morris' two-run doubled to put Auburn up 7-6 as Mercer had not recorded an out and changed pitchers three times in the inning.
A sacrifice fly by Mike Bianucci
made it 8-6 before Sanders walked up to the plate for the second time in the inning and belted his third home run in as many games. Two batters later Cunningham singled again and then Patterson hit a laser out to right to cap the scoring and complete Auburn's biggest offensive explosion since April 14, 2000, when the Tigers scored 14 in the first inning of a 19-2 win over Mercer in Auburn
Mercer (22-30) took a 1-0 lead in the first on Joe Winker's RBI double to right-center that scored Matt Crawford, who singled and stole second to lead off the inning.
Casey Stewart's fourth home run of the year, a two-run shot to right, made it a 3-0 Mercer lead with just one down in the second.
Morris' RBI single to right in the top of the third scored Caldwell, who had doubled to the wall in right-center, to make it a 3-1 game.
Mercer then opened up a five-run lead at 6-1 with a three-run third off of Hurst, scoring on two walks, a hit batter, an error and a single with only one earned run being charged to Hurst.
Hurst finished the night allowing just three hits and four walks.
"Michael Hurst did a great job when he came in," Auburn Head Coach Slater said. "Other than the error behind him he did a great job. He threw a lot of zeros up there."
Auburn tacked on three more runs in the top of the seventh on a wild pitch, a Sanders' double and
Justice French took the loss for Mercer, allowing six runs on five hits and a walk in just 0.2 innings.
Auburn's three-homer inning was the first for Auburn since April 9, 2005, at Mississippi State when Clete Thomas, Josh Bell and Jeff Boutwell each hit first-inning homers off of
Sanders extended his hitting streak to a career-long 17 games with a first-inning single. It is the second 17-game hitting streak by an Auburn hitter this season, matching Hall's streak from March 18 to April 12.
Auburn closes out the regular season this weekend at Plainsman Park as it plays host to LSU for a three-game series beginning Thursday at 6pm CT.