Tigers Win 5th Straight In Opener Vs. Gators

The Auburn baseball team took a 7-4 victory on the road vs. the Florida Gators to open a three-game SEC series.

Gainesville, Fla.--Auburn's hot hitting continued on Friday night as the Tigers pounded out 11 hits to take a 7-4 SEC baseball victory over the Florida Gators.

The Tigers also got a quality start on the mound from Conner Kendrick, who allowed just one earned run in 6 1/3 innings to improve his record to 4-3.

Closer Terrance Dedrick slammed the door on the home team, getting the Tigers out of a jam in the seventh inning and not allowing a hit in 2 1/3 innings of relief for his seventh save of the season.

The Tigers improved to 30-19 overall with their fifth consecutive win and are now 10-15 in SEC play. The Gators dropped to 27-24 overall and 12-13 in conference games.

The Tigers, who scored all of their runs with two outs, got home runs from Ryan Tella and Jordan Ebert while shortstop Dan Glevenyak contributed three hits, two runs scored and two RBI.

"I am just proud of our club the way they played tonight," said Auburn coach John Pawlowski, who noted the Tigers realize the urgency of improving their record to have a chance for postseason play.

"I feel like this club is playing with a lot of confidence now and some good things are happening," the coach added. "We just have got to clean up a couple of things. We made a couple of mistakes defensively, but we were able to overcome those."

Florida had the first serious scoring threat in the third inning, but Cullen Wacker's throw from center field led to out three at home plate as Harrison Bader was tagged out by Blake Austin.

Tella got the scoring started in the fourth inning with a three-run homer with two outs. Scoring were Glevenyak who reached base on a single and Ebert who walked.

"I got down 2-2 and I just remember today in BP (batting practice) I was missing a few balls and (hitting coach Gabe Gross) pulled me aside and told me to put my foot down to give me a pause and give me a little more reaction to the outside too," Tella said of his long home run. "Gabe told us that all balls die in center, but carry to the corners."

A leadoff walk in the top of the fifth inning resulted in the Gators pulling pitcher Jonathan Crawford, who gave way to Parker Danclu. After forcing a groundout that moved Hunter Kelley to second base, Danclu gave way to Aaron Rhodes, who walked the first batter he faced, Garrett Cooper. Earlier in the game Cooper extended his hitting streak to 13 games.

Designated hitter Patrick Savage grounded out to second base, moving the runners to second and third with two outs for Glevenyak. The shortstop picked up his third hit of the night, a double that scored two runs. Glevenyak then scored on a single by Ebert to make the score 6-0.

The Gators came up with a big inning in the seventh, putting four runs on the scoreboard and chasing Kendrick. An error by Glevenyak started the rally for the Gators, who managed to get their runs home with only four singles in the inning. Trey Cochran-Gill came on in relief. He gave up a sacrifice fly and a hit before giving way to Dedrick, who ended the threat with a strikeout.

Auburn loaded the bases in the eighth inning with one out on a swinging strikeout wild pitch plus two walks, but couldn't bring home an insurance run. However, in the ninth inning Ebert's long home run put the Tigers up 7-4, setting the stage for Dedrick to take care of business in the bottom half of the inning.

Conner Kendrick allowed seven hits vs. the Gators, struck out four and walked one batter.

Pawlowski said that Kendrick was "outstanding" on the mound for the Tigers, noting that even in the seventh inning the Gators did not hit the ball hard against the left- hander. "Friday night going deep in the game is really important for us," the coach said.

The Tigers and Gators will return to action with a 6 p.m. CDT game on Saturday. Lefty Michael O'Neal (8-3) is scheduled to pitch for the Tigers. vs. lefty Danny Young (3-4).

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