The Tigers jumped out of a 7-2 lead after two innings on their way to taking their 20th victory of the season to go with five losses. The 11th-ranked Tigers improved to 4-1 in conference play while the Cats fell to 0-4.
Junior centerfielder Javon Moran led the Auburn hitting assault by going 4-for-6 with three RBI and three runs scored. Tug Hulett, Josh Bell, Karl Amonite and Chuck Jeroloman each contributed three hits for the Tigers.
Eric Brandon, who threw five and two-thirds innings, was the winning pitcher. He improved his record to 2-1 as he gave up five runs, but only two were earned. Auburn committed five errors in the game with Moran, Hulett, Bell, Scott Schade and Jeroloman having one apiece.
Auburn took the lead for good in the second inning with six runs after being tied at 1-1 after the first inning. The Tigers scored six times with the help of seven hits in the second. Five were consecutive hits with two outs.
Schade started the big inning with a one out walk and scored on Gamble's triple to right field. Jeroloman doubled and Moran singled to score Jeroloman. Hulett doubled in Moran and Bobby Huddleston, Bell and Amonite followed with run scoring singles.
Auburn's largest lead was nine runs after the Tigers scored four times in the top of the sixth inning to stretch the lead to 14-5 as Amonite and Moran led the way with doubles.
"Our guys played hard today," Coach Steve Renfroe said. "We gutted it out and we are proud to get a win. Eric Brandon's performance was outstanding. I thought he really had a gutsy performance. We were able to stretch him out and I am proud of the way he hung in there. He pitched well today."
Relief pitcher Lee Carter struggled when he came on for Brandon in the sixth inning. He agave up three hits and two runs. Corey Dueitt also struggled, giving up three runs in two innings on the mound. The only successful relief came from closer Steven Register, who pitched a scoreless ninth inning.
Mike Breyman led the Wildcats at the plate with five RBI, including a three-run homer in the ninth. Starter Scott Wade (0-3) took the loss for Kentucky, which fell to 8-12 overall.
The Tigers and Wildcats will square off at 1 p.m. CST on Saturday for game two of the three-game series.