Cooper's 10th Inning Blast Leads AU To Win

Auburn got a huge three-run homer from Garrett Cooper in the 10th inning to defeat Texas A&M 6-4 on Friday night.

College Station, Tex.—Garrett Cooper's three-run homer in the 10th inning gave Auburn a huge Friday night win in SEC play as the Tigers defeated Texas A&M 6-4 for their second conference win. Pitcher Terrance Dedrick got the win in relief for Auburn, allowing just one run on two hits in three and one/third innings of work, as the Tigers improve to 18-12 overall and 2-8 in SEC play.

Dedrick came on in relief of starter Conner Kendrick as the junior left-hander allowed just two earned runs on 10 hits in six and one/third innings. Both earned runs came in the first inning as he settled in to take the Tigers deep into the game before turning things over to the bullpen.

At the plate Ryan Tella had three hits to lead the Tigers with Cooper and Dan Glevenyak adding two hits each on the night.

For Auburn it was a much-needed win and once again the Tigers had to battle back after trailing early, but Coach John Pawlowski says his team just kept battling and finally got something good to happen.

"They hung tough," Pawlowski says. "We were down 2-0 and I just liked the resiliency of the way we were tonight. They never batted an eye. It wasn't coming easy because their guy was pitching well, but finally we came up with some big hits."

With the game tied in the 10th inning, Tella singled to lead off and stole second with one out and Cullen Wacker at the plate. Working a walk, the senior advanced to first base and sent the Aggies to the bullpen with Cooper due up for the Tigers. Coming on, sidearm pitcher Zach Brashear left a pitch up to the senior and he didn't miss it as the first baseman drove it over the left field wall for his third home run of the season.

"Gabe (Gross) told me before the at-bat to look inside because his ball tailed in," Cooper says. "I sat inside and luckily I got the head of the bat on it. It was a line drive home run. It was another great feeling with the back-to-back weekends with home runs.

"All you can ask for is to hit the ball hard and then it went over his head," he adds. "It scraped over the fence. You couldn't ask for a better situation."

The Aggies didn't go without a fight as they added a run in the bottom of the 10th inning on a sacrifice fly and had the tying run at the plate, but Dedrick got a strikeout to end the game and seal to victory.

Once again it was early problems that hurt the Tigers as Kendrick struggled in the first inning against the Aggies. Giving up a single to leadoff man Mikey Reynolds, Kendrick faced Blake Allemand one out later following a sacrifice bunt and gave up his second hit of the inning. The single easily scored Reynolds to put Texas A&M on the scoreboard.

Another single to Cole Lankford put runners on first and second for the Aggies and they would quickly put the pressure on, pulling off a successful double steal to put a pair of runners into scoring position with one out. It proved to be a big play as Jonathan Maroney's ground ball to Jordan Ebert at second base would have been a double play, but instead it scored Allemand for the early 2-0 lead.

In the second the Aggies threatened to add to the lead after outfielder Brandon Wood led off with a long triple to center field. Recovering to get the next hitter, Kendrick got the help he needed as Texas A&M failed on a squeeze bunt attempt and Wood was caught stealing for the second out. Kendrick struck out the last hitter to keep the Aggies off the board.

That seemed to give the junior left-hander some life as he started to get into a zone on the mound. Throwing four more scoreless innings, Kendrick allowed his offense to finally get something going in the seventh inning.

With two outs and nobody on, freshman Jackson Burgreen singled to left field to give the Tigers some life. Auburn then got a break of its own as Blake Austin reached on a throwing error by the Aggies' shortstop to put runners on the corners for Glevenyak. Getting a pitch to handle the shortstop drove a pitch to center field for a double to score both runners and tie the game. Auburn had a chance to take the lead when pinch hitter Patrick Savage singled sharply to right field, but Glevenyak was gunned down at the plate to end the inning for the Tigers.

It didn't take long for the Aggies to jump back in front however with help from Auburn's defense. With a runner on second and two outs the Tigers went to Dedrick in relief to face Krey Bratson. Stabbing a ground ball up the middle that went for an infield single, Glevenyak's throw was off the mark and the error allowed Troy Stein to score the unearned run and put the Aggies back in front.

Auburn wouldn't go down without a fight as Ryan Tella singled to open the eighth and moved to second on a sacrifice bunt to bring Cullen Wacker to the plate. The senior came through with a single to right field, but the Tigers decided to play the odds and hold Tella at third. It proved to be the right move as the speedster scored as Cooper outran a potential double play ball to allow him to cross the plate and tie the game. That set the stage for his dramatics in the 10th inning to give Auburn the win.

The Tigers will try for their first series win in SEC play when junior left-hander Michael O'Neal takes the mound for the 2 p.m. start.

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