Baseball Tigers Sweep Bat Cats

Auburn rallied for a third straight game enabling Coach John Pawlowski's Tigers to go 3-0 on their SEC baseball road trip to Kentucky.

Lexington, Ky.--The Auburn Tigers used a solid start by pitcher Jon Luke Jacobs, excellent pitching from the bullpen and clutch hitting to complete an SEC baseball series sweep of Kentucky with an 8-2 victory on Sunday.

Jacobs gave up two runs on six hits in five and one-third innings. Sean Ray, who pitched a scoreless 1 1/3 innings of relief, picked up the win for the Tigers.

Dillion Ortman, a freshman from Huntsville, picked up his second save of the season by closing the final 2 1/3 innings allowing no runs and no hits.

As was the case on Friday and Saturday, the Tigers rallied from behind to wind. Unlike the first two games, the contest was played with a strong wind blowing in from right field making fly balls an adventure for everybody. Kentucky committed four errors to help Auburn on Sunday while the Tigers committed just one error, which did not lead to a run being scored.

After being swept the past two weekends by Mississippi State and Vanderbilt, the Tigers improved their record to 5-7 in the SEC and 18-14 overall. Kentucky dropped to 2-10 in the league and 16-17 overall.

The Tigers, who do not have a midweek contest this week, will be back in action on Friday at LSU.

Auburn coach John Pawlowski said he liked the way his team played with confidence and composure throughout the series. "I was pleased with the performance of everybody today," he said.

"Everybody we brought in contributed," Pawlowski noted. "Brooks Beisner, who pinch-hit for Bobby Andrews, got a fly to tie it up. Wacker came in and pinch-hit for Beisner and got the hit to put us ahead with a two-strike, two-out count. Sean Ray came in with two big strikeouts and then Dillion Ortman came in with the bases loaded and got a ground ball (out) so I felt very good about the guys who came in as substitutes."

Starting pitcher Jacobs struggled to start the game allowing the Wildcats two runs on two doubles.

The Tigers cut the lead to 2-1 in the top of the second inning as Kevin Patterson's two-out single to right field drove home Dan Gamache from third base. Gamache opened the inning with a double to right center field.

The Tigers tied the game in the fifth inning with a single run. Creede Simpson led off with a line drive off the wall in left center field that was about a foot too low to be a home run.

Simpson moved to third on a groundout by Justin Hargett and scored on a sacrifice fly to center field by Beisner.

Jacobs pitched into the sixth inning, being pulled with one out and a runner on first base. Lefty Ray then struck out the next two batters to end the inning.

The Tigers chased UK starting pitcher Taylor Rogers and took a 6-2 lead with four runs scored with two outs in the seventh inning.

Wes Gilmer led off the inning with a single to left field prior to a strikeout by Patterson. Gilmer moved to second base on a groundout by Simpson. Justin Hargett was then ruled safe on a close play at first base on a ground ball up the middle putting runners on the corner.

The Wildcats went to their bullpen for freshman Taylor Gott, who was greeted with an RBI single by Auburn freshman Wacker, a pinch-hitter for Beisner.

With runners on first and third, a ground ball to third baseman Thomas McCarthy was misplayed allowing Fradejas to reach first and score the second run of the inning for the Tigers.

Casey McElroy followed that with a line drive single to center field that scored two more runs to put the Tigers on top 6-2. Gamache then was called out on strikes to end the threat.

Shaky defensive play by the Wildcats allowed the Tigers to add two insurance runs in the eighth inning. Caldwell led off the inning with a single and Gilmer reached base on an error by the pitcher. Patterson then loaded the bases with no outs on a bad hop infield single up the middle.

After Simpson struck out and Kentucky brought in left-handed pitcher Alex Phillips, Hargett hit a ground ball to shortstop that was mishandled and a bad throw to second base allowed both Caldwell and Gilmer to score. Phillips got Wacker on a strikeout and Fradejas on a fly ball to right field that almost dropped in for a hit to avoid further damage.

Pawlowski said he liked what he saw from Jacobs after the starting pitcher gave up a pair of runs in the first inning. "He just kept his composure and kept battling and got us deeper into the game. It was just a real gutsy performance by him."

The Auburn added that he liked what he saw the whole weekend from the bullpen, which had been a problem area the two previous weekends. "That is what we needed," he said. "I think that will help their confidence knowing they can go out there and finish games. It was just a great performance all-around this week. I am happy for the kids."

Commenting on his team's three comeback wins over the Wildcats, Pawlowski said, "They are playing with confidence and they are seeing the ball well. It is amazing one week to the next in this league. It is an absolute rollercoaster ride."

Caldwell finished the series 8-14 at the plate with 10 RBI while McElroy was 9-15 with nine runs batted in for the Tigers.

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