Dueitt Does It, But Tiger Hitters Don't

Cory Dueitt pitched well for the Tigers, but that wasn't enough to win on Sunday vs. Vanderbilt.

Nashville, Tenn.--Cory Dueitt did his job in his first SEC start of the season, but Auburn's hitters couldn't produce in the clutch as the Tigers fell 3-0 on Sunday at Hawkins Field to the Vanderbilt Commodores.

Vanderbilt took the series 2-1 as the Tigers stranded 13 runners on base. Vanderbilt managed just three hits on Sunday, but took advantage of those and left only one runner on base the whole afternoon.

Auburn was unable to score despite getting the opening batter on base in the first, second, third, fourth, sixth and eighth innings.

The loss gave the Tigers their second straight conference series loss and dropped them to 13-8 in Southeastern Conference play and 32-13 overall. Vanderbilt improved to 10-11 in the SEC and 22-20 overall.

Dueitt, who replaced struggling Eric Brandon in the starting lineup, was the hard-luck loser for the Tigers to drop to 6-2 on the season. He allowed just two hits and one run in five innings.

Chris Dennis pitched two innings of relief for the Tigers. He was charged with an earned run after a batter he walked in the eighth inning scored. Pinch-runner Gil Kim reached second on a sacrifice bunt vs. reliever Steven Register and third base on a passed ball by catcher Josh Bell and then scored on a sacrifice fly for a big insurance run. That was a particularly frustrating result for an Auburn team that stranded two runners on base in the top of the inning, left the bases loaded in the seventh and failed to score in the sixth after opening the inning with two singles.

Vandy used a home run by designated hitter John Kaye to take a 1-0 lead in the fifth inning. That was the first hit allowed by Dueitt, a junior right-hander. Another solo homer accounted for Vandy's third and final run as Zach Simpson, with two outs in the ninth inning, drilled shot over the left center field wall vs. Register.

"This was disappointing today as we had plenty of chances," said Auburn coach Steve Renfroe. "We weren't as sharp offensively today. Cory threw well for us." Renfroe's team dropped the opener on Friday night 7-4 and won by a 7-4 margin on Saturday.

Led by hot-hitting Karl Amonite, who had three singles, the Tigers tripled Vandy's hit total with nine. However, unlike earlier in the season when clutch hits were the norm, that didn't happen in Nashville on Sunday where the Tigers suffered their first series loss to the Commodores since 1988.

Ryan Mullins was the winning pitcher. He gave up six hits in six innings to improve his record to 3-6. Matt Buschman allowed two hits in two innings of relief and Jensen Lewis got his seventh save of the season by pitching the ninth inning and allowing one hit.

The Tigers are off until they return to conference action on Friday as Florida comes to Plainsman Park to start a three-game series. The first pitch for the Tigers vs. Gators contest is set for 6:30 p.m.

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