Tigers Punch Ticket To Hoover With 13-4 Win Over Tennessee
May 20, 2011
KNOXVILLE, Tenn. - Auburn slammed its way to a 13-4, SEC Tournament-clinching win on Friday night at Lindsey Nelson Stadium. Tony Caldwell finished the night 3-for-6 with six RBIs and Justin Hargett was 4-for-5 with four runs scored as Auburn improved to 29-26, 14-15 SEC while Tennessee is 24-29, 6-23 SEC.
"Derek Varnadore was a workhorse for us today. He went out there and got us deep into the game after a rough start. I am really proud of him and certainly proud of our team," Auburn Head Coach John Pawlowski said. "We scored in a lot of different ways. We used the short game, we stole some bases and Tony hit a big grand slam. A lot of positive things went on today."
After giving up the three runs in the first, Varnadore (6-2) had one of his more impressive performances on the season, working into the seventh and allowing just one more run, it coming in the sixth on a solo home run by Ethan Bennett. On the night he fanned seven and from the second through the fifth innings, he allowed just one runner to reach third.
With Varnadore cruising, the Auburn offense battered the Tennessee pitching staff for 18 hits as five starters had multi-hit games and three had multi-RBI nights.
Auburn scored two runs in the third and three in the fourth to chase Tennessee starter Nick Blount (1-5) as he allowed five runs on eight hits and a walk in 3 2/3 in innings.
"It was huge (to have the offense score a lot). I was just trying to go out there and put up zeros and they kept on picking me up and that helped me get more and more comfortable," Varnadore said.
Caldwell drove in a run in both the third and fourth innings with a pair of singles and then capped his night with a ninth-inning grand slam, his second of the season.
Hargett did his damage with four singles, two of them bunt base hits, and scored in each of his last four time at bat.
"Today was a pretty big win for us," Hargett said. "We had to come in here with confidence and brush yesterday's loss off. We put some hits together and it turned out well for us."
The top three in the Auburn order combined with Caldwell to go 11-for-18 with 10 RBI and seven runs scored as Justin Fradejas was 2-for-3 with a run and a RBI, Cullen Wacker was 3-for-5 with two runs and two RBIs and Casey McElroy was 3-for-4 with two runs and a RBI.
With a tournament spot clinched, it marks the first time since Auburn will go to the tournament in consecutive seasons since it went for seven straight seasons since 1997-2003.
The series concludes at 1pm CT on Saturday with So. RHP Slade Smith (2-1, 6.39) battling LHP Rob Catapano (2-5, 6.65) on the mound.
Auburn 13, Tennessee 4 (May 20, 2011 at Knoxville, TN)
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