May 22, 2010
Final Stats |
Western Division Champs Merchandise | Buy SEC Tourney Tix | SEC Tournament Bracket
OXFORD, Miss. - No. 16 Auburn started its Southeastern Conference season with a three-game sweep at Georgia and ended it the same fashion in Oxford, Miss., on Saturday afternoon, besting the host No. 17 Ole Miss Rebels, 11-1, to complete the team's run to the SEC West Division title with a 39-17 overall record and a school record 20-10 SEC mark.
"There is a lot of confidence in this club right now. We continue to talk about the performance on the mound. You throw Grant Dayton out there and Michael Hurst and they issued no walks. We made them put it in play and they did an outstanding job," Auburn Head Coach John Pawlowski said.
Already locked into the number two seed in next week's conference tournament by virtue of Friday night's 18-4 division-clinching win, Auburn completed its first sweep of Ole Miss (36-20, 16-14 SEC) since 1988 and its first in Oxford since 1976. It marked the first time since 2006 that anyone had swept Ole Miss in conference play and the first time that anyone did it at Oxford-University Stadium since 2003.
Joining Auburn and sixth-seeded Ole Miss in its half of the bracket will be third-seeded South Carolina (43-13, 21-9 SEC) and seventh-seeded Alabama (34-21, 15-15 SEC). Auburn and Alabama will play in the first game of the tournament on Wednesday at 9:30am CT at Regions Park in Hoover, Ala. The game will be televised live in SportsSouth.
Tickets for the SEC Tournament are available online at www.auburntigers.com and www.secsports.com.
Most of the damage on Saturday was done in the third inning as Auburn scored seven times on seven hits, a walk and an error to go up 9-1 after two-and-a-half innings.
With Auburn's bats showing why the team has the best batting average in the SEC, Dayton continued his dominance in series finales, holding Ole Miss to just three hits over the first five innings before giving way to Michael Hurst to start the sixth. Having won his last three starts, Dayton improved to 8-2 on the year and won his seventh in league play, tying for the league lead in SEC wins. The only blemish on his stat line on Sunday came on Snyder's second-inning home run as he struck out three, didn't walk any and worked around two fourth-inning singles as Auburn finished the year 9-1 in SEC series finales.
"I knew today was going to be a challenge. Ole Miss has good hitters. It always helps when we jump on their pitching early and we were able to. That makes for a comfortable day on the mound," Dayton said. "Our pitching staff has made great strides, and right now we can carry that to the post season, which is new for us. It's great to end like this; pitching well and hitting well. We have a lot of momentum going into the post season."
Already up 2-1 after Trent Mummey (3-for-6, 2 2B, 4 RBI) and Matt Snyder (3-for-3, 2B, HR), traded home runs, with Mummey's scoring two in the first, Auburn battered Ole Miss starter David Goforth for three runs in the top of the third before he left with men on first and third, both of which would come around to score. Goforth would be charged with seven runs (five earned) in 2 1/3 innings to fall to 1-5 on the season.
"We came out yesterday and we won the West and we wanted to put ourselves in the best possible position to host a regional and I think we did that today with the sweep over Ole Miss," Mummey said.
Brian Fletcher (1-for-4, R) started the third with a double and then singles by Hunter Morris (2-for-5) and Kevin Patterson (1-for-6) followed, with Patterson's scoring Fletcher. A sac bunt by Casey McElroy (0-for-2) put both runners in scoring position for Tony Caldwell, who squeezed home Morris to put Auburn up 4-1. An errant pickoff attempt of Caldwell (2-for-4) at first allowed Patterson to score and Caldwell to get to second for Dan Gamache (1-for-4), who singled off of Goforth to put runners on the corners and end Goforth's afternoon.
Auburn greeted reliever Rory McKean with a second successful squeeze play and then was aided by a fielding error at first that allowed Justin Fradejas (3-for-5, 3 R, 2 SB) to reach safely. Mummey followed with a two-run double and scored on Morris' single to cap the scoring on the inning.
"Offensively we put up a big inning, a seven-run inning. Sometimes we overlook the little things we do offensively. We had two successful squeezes. We continue to find ways to do things," Pawlowski said.
Hurst finished the game by throwing a season-high four innings, allowing a sixth-inning double but otherwise keeping the Ole Miss hitters off base, sitting them down in order in the seventh, eighth and ninth to pick up his second save of the season.
"It's really exciting. For us coming in here and getting a sweep is really big for the team and it's a big confidence builder going into the SEC Tournament," Hurst said. "I just came in and tried to do the best I can. I threw strikes and let the defense work behind me and they did a great job today."
Auburn's final two runs came in the top of the ninth as Fradejas singled, Mummey doubled and both scored when Ole Miss first baseman Matt Snyder couldn't handle a Morris liner.
The last time Auburn had three league sweeps in SEC play was in 2001 when it also completed three sweeps in the season, though all three of those sweeps came at home while only one of Auburn's sweeps this season took place at Plainsman Park. The last time Auburn closed out a SEC season with a sweep was in 1999 while the last time it happened on the road was in 1988.
Auburn 11, Ole Miss 1 (May 22, 2010 at Oxford, MS)
Auburn.............. 207 000 002 - 11 14 0 (39-17, 20-10 SEC)
Ole Miss............ 010 000 000 - 1 4 4 (36-20, 16-14 SEC)
Win-Grant Dayton(8-2) Save-Michael Hurst(2) Loss-David Goforth(1-5) T-2:59 A-6483
Box Score in PDF Format
Follow Auburn baseball on twitter at twitter.com/AUTigerBaseball.