Auburn's Jackson Burgreen flies home to take a home run away from College of Charleston
By Charles Goldberg
Auburn's return to the NCAA baseball tournament was sidetracked by an 11th-inning homer Friday.
Erven Roper's homer in extra innings sent College Charleston to a 7-6 victory in the regional in Tallahassee in the Tigers' first regional appearance since 2010.
Auburn played comeback ball, tying the game in the seventh on a two-out 2-run homer from Melvin Gray. The Tigers and Cougars played it even from there until Roper's home run, Charleston's fourth two-out homer of the day.
Auburn fell into the losers' bracket and will play Saturday at 11 a.m., Central time, against the loser of Friday's second game between host Florida State and Mercer.
Charleston, third in the nation in home runs, beat the Tigers 4-1 playing long ball.
"You can't defend the home run and that did us in today," said Auburn coach Sunny Golloway. "We knew they had power coming, and we knew we were playing in a small ballpark, so our plan was not to walk them and give up the home run.
"When four balls leave the park to account for that many runs, that's really disappointing."
Still, Auburn was in it as the game moved to extra innings.
"They did a better job at the end getting the hit when they needed it," said catcher Blake Logan on the Auburn radio network.
Auburn starter Cole Lipscomb "did a great job of battling," Logan said.
"I don't think he had his best stuff, but he did a great job of putting us in the best position he could to give us a chance to win."
Reliever Izaac Yarbrough shut out the Cougars for three innings before Roper's home run.
"There was that just one pitch. He did a great job but did a great job keeping us in it the last three innings," Logan said.
Charleston scored three unearned runs in the sixth.
Gray led Auburn with three RBIs as he continued his hot streak. He's hitting .337 over his last 24 games with 17 runs scored and 19 RBIs.
Logan and Daniel Robert drove in one each for the Tigers.
Charles Goldberg is a Senior Writer at AuburnTigers.com. Follow him on Twitter: Follow @AUGoldMine