Big inning sinks Tigers on rainy night at Kentucky
From the Auburn University Athletics Department:
LEXINGTON, Ky. – Kentucky scored five unanswered runs in the sixth and seventh innings to erase an Auburn lead and give the Wildcats a 6-3 win Friday night at Cliff Hagan Stadium.
With Georgia's loss to Ole Miss tonight, Auburn (26-24, 9-16 SEC) did not lose any ground in the SEC standings, remaining a half-game behind the Bulldogs for the last spot in the SEC Tournament. But the Tigers missed an opportunity to gain ground as Kentucky (29-19, 11-14) struggled against multiple Auburn pitchers over the first five-plus innings.
However, a four-run seventh proved to be the difference in the game as the Wildcats sent nine men to the plate and faced four different Tiger pitchers in the decisive frame.
Terrance Dedrick (1-3) was charged with the loss as he gave up the go-ahead run in the seventh inning, recording his third blown save of the year.
Michael O'Neal got the start, giving up a run on three hits in 1.2 innings. Jay Wade, Daniel Koger, Reid Carter, Rocky McCord and Trey Wingenter had outings of varying lengths on the night as well.
Kentucky pulled ahead for good with a four-run seventh that started with a leadoff walk, spelling the end of what had been a productive outing for Carter (3.0 innings, 4 hits, 2 runs). After a sacrifice bunt followed by a single from leadoff hitter Austin Cousino, Max Kuhn singled to right to bring home two runs and give the Wildcats a 4-3 lead as Auburn committed an error in the outfield on the play.
After A.J. Reed was hit by a pitch and both runners advanced on a wild pitch, Ka'ai Tom drove in two more runs with a single that caromed off the first-base bag into right field, giving Kentucky a 6-3 lead.
The Wildcats struck first with an RBI double by Matt Reida in the second inning, scoring Thomas Bernal from second to give UK a 1-0 lead, chasing Auburn starter Michael O'Neal from the game.
The Tigers answered in the fourth as they loaded the bases with no outs and tied the game 1-1 on a sacrifice fly from Damek Tomscha, scoring Damon Haecker from third. But the Tigers could not add any more, leaving a pair aboard.
Auburn put together a two-out rally in the top of the sixth. Blake Logan and Damek Tomscha ripped a pair of two-out singles, and Ryan Tella roped a two-RBI double into the right-field corner to score both runs and give the Tigers a 3-1 lead.
Kentucky cut the deficit to 3-2 as Reed led off the bottom of the sixth with his nation-leading 21st home run of the year, clearing the 25-foot-high billboard in right field.
Auburn had eight hits on the night from eight different players. Tom led Kentucky with a 3-for-4 night and Cousino was 2-for-5. Reed (9-2) picked up the win for the Wildcats, and Spencer Jack earned his third save of the year.
The game was delayed an hour and 17 minutes in the eighth inning by heavy rain, and the final out occurred just seconds before more heavy rain descended on the Lexington area.
Game two of the weekend series is set for a 6 p.m. CT start Saturday at Cliff Hagan Stadium. Rod Bramblett and Andy Burcham will have the broadcast on the Auburn IMG Sports Network, and the game will be televised by Fox Sports South.