Lack Of Key Hits Costs Tigers Vs. USM

Auburn suffered another frustrating baseball loss, falling 5-4 to Southern Mississippi at Plainsman Park.

Auburn, Ala.--Lack of clutch hitting was Auburn's downfall again on Sunday as Southern Miss took a 5-4 baseball victory at Plainsman Park.

The Tigers left the bases loaded in three of the nine innings on the way to stranding 14 runners. They also left the tying runner on second base in the bottom of the ninth inning.

Auburn fell to 7-6 for the season after losing two of the three games at its round-robin event over the weekend. Southern Miss, 8-4, finished the weekend with two wins, losing only to Purdue, which posted three wins in Auburn. Charleston Southern finished 0-3.

Coach John Pawlowski said, "We just weren't able to come up with the big hit. We got the guys into scoring position. We weren't able to break through with a big situation. It is certainly frustrating. Obviously, the team is very disappointed."

Southern Miss scored first as Blake Brown hit a wind-aided, solo home run to right center field to lead off the top of the second inning.

Auburn responded as Cullen Wacker led off the bottom of the second, reaching base on a throwing error by the second baseman. He advanced to second on a wild pitch. Wacker moved to third on a one-out sacrifice bunt and scored from there on a single by Zach Alvord to left field.

After Blake Austin was hit by a pitch, Jay Gonzalez walked to load the bases for Creede Simpson, who ended the rally with a pop fly to right field.

Brown was credited with the second RBI putting the Golden Eagles up 2-1 with two outs in the top of the third inning. What looked to be a strike on the outside part of the plate was called a ball forcing home a run. Koger then struck out the next batter to get out of the jam.

The Golden Eagles bumped up the lead to 3-1 in the top of the fifth inning with a leadoff triple by Dillon Day, who scored on a sacrifice fly to center by Ashley Graeter.

Daniel Koger was Auburn's starting pitcher and had no decision.

In the bottom of the fifth inning the Tigers loaded the bases again with two outs for Patrick Savage after Ryan Tella got the rally started with a two-out single.

The Golden Eagles went to the bullpen bringing in lefty Jake Drefhoff to replace right-handed starter Boomer Scarborough. Savage's line drive to center field was caught to get the visitors out of the inning.

In the bottom of the sixth inning the Tigers got a leadoff single to center from Glevenyak. He reached second base with one out on a wild pitch. He scored on a two-out, line drive opposite field double to left by Gonzalez to cut the lead to 3-2.

Southern Miss helped Auburn's cause when a throwing error on a ground ball to third base that allowed Gonzalez to score from second base to even the contest at 3-3.

Southern Miss regained the lead in the eighth inning with a double off of Slade Smith by Mason Robbins. He scored on a double to right off of Corey Luckie, who faced just one batter before being replaced by Justin Bryant.

Connor Bryant scored on a double to left by Travis Creel on a high chopper over the third baseman to make the score 5-3 in favor of the Golden Eagles.

With two outs in the bottom of the inning back-to-back walks put the tying runners on base for Tella. That prompted another pitching change. Tella reached on an error to load the bases, but pinch-hitter Kody Ortman stuck out looking on a three-two pitch to end the threat.

Auburn cut the lead to 5-4 as Wacker hit a towering home run over the K-Corner as the leadoff hitter in the ninth.

After a walk to the next batter, Savage, Southern Miss went to the bullpen again for Bradley Roney. Mitchell Self replaced Savage as a pinch-runner.

Glevenyak sacrificed the runner to second base on a bunt bringing Alvord to the plate. He popped up to the infield for out two and Blake Austin hit a fly ball to short left field to end the threat and game.

Koger pitched 5 1/3 innings and allowed by five hits as the starter for the Tigers. Slade Smith, the first reliever, was tagged with the loss dropping his record to 0-3. He gave up two hits and one run.

"He gave us a chance to win today," Pawlowski said. "He is a guy we are counting on. I thought he did a pretty good job."

James McMahon, the third of five USM pitchers, picked up the win throwing 1 1/3 innings without allowing a run or hit.

The Tigers were held to just six hits with Tella finished with two of them. Southern Miss finished with nine hits.

The Tigers return to action on Tuesday at the Capital City Classic in Montgomery vs. Alabama. The first pitch is scheduled for approximately 7 p.m. CST at Riverwalk Stadium.

Pawlowski said he hasn't decided who will pitch for the Tigers vs. the Tide. "It's a great venue," Pawlowski said. "Certainly, Auburn fans will be out in full force. It will be great for our kids to play in front of that type of environment. I know they are looking forward to it."

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