Tigers Clinch Series With 4-2 Win Vs. Vols

Clutch pitching was the key for the Auburn baseball team as the Tigers won on Saturday at Tennessee.

Knoxville, Tenn.--Freshman pitcher Keegan Thompson improved his record to 5-0 as Auburn assured itself of the series win with a 4-2 SEC baseball victory over Tennessee on Saturday.

Thompson allowed just five hits and one run in 7 1/3 innings while his teammates supported him with 13 hits and no errors.

More good news for Coach Sunny Golloway was that closer Terrance Dedrick, who has not been sharp at times this year, slammed the door shut on the Vols with a save with a one-two-three ninth inning that included a pair of strikeouts.

Auburn will go for the series sweep on Sunday with the first pitch scheduled for 1 p.m. CDT at Lindsey Nelson Stadium. Justin Camp, who has a 1-2 record with 2.90 earned run average, will pitch for the Tigers vs. right-hander Andrew Lee, who is 2-0 with a 3.46 ERA.

Golloway said that he liked Thompson's mental toughness in Saturday's game. "Keegan didn't really have his best stuff," the coach said. "He didn't have his fastball command. The ball was running in on him on the arm side and he definitely didn't have his off-speed stuff.

"He kept coming into the dugout frustrated," Golloway pointed out. "What I love about him he is such a competitor he is going to find a way to get out of it every time and that is what he did."

Golloway said that the Tigers, who improved to 17-7 overall and 4-1 in the SEC, are a work in progress, but added, "I see a baseball team getting better right now."

Tennessee dropped to 18-4 overall and 2-3 in the SEC.

The first baserunner came in the second inning when Ryan Tella reached second on an infield hit and throwing error. He moved to third base on a sacrifice bunt by Blake Logan.

Following a popup by Daniel Robert the Tigers got a line drive single by Damon Haecker to take a 1-0 lead. Connor Short then walked to put Sam Gillikin at the plate, but the rightfielder made out three on a ground ball to first base.

In the fourth inning Logan smacked a line drive double to left field with one out. He moved to third on bunt single by Robert and scored from there on a squeeze bunt by Haecker, who moved to second base on a bad throw by the pitcher.

The Tigers had a great opportunity to add more runs, but Short popped up for out two and Gillikin was thrown out on a groundout to the shortstop.

Thompson allowed his first runner in the fifth inning with a leadoff base on balls to Nick Senzel and the next hitter, Christin Stewart, came through with the Vols' first hit of the game on a soft line drive to right field.

Auburn's pitcher then made a strong defensive play, fielding a bunt by Vincent Jackson and getting the lead runner on a force at third base for the first out of the inning.

Thompson then got Nathaniel Maggio to fly out to short right field for the second out. Tyler Schultz ended the inning with a ground ball to shortstop Haecker, who threw to second base for the force out.

The Auburn pitcher also got out of a major jam in the sixth inning when UT?loaded the bases with two outs before the freshman right-hander retired the side on a fly ball to the warning track in right field by Stewart.

The Tigers added a pair of runs in the seventh inning to take a 4-0 lead. The threat started with a one-out walk to Gillikin. Jordan Ebert then hit a ground ball single to right putting runners on first and second.

Glevenyak drove home Gillikin with a line drive into the right field corner. Ebert was thrown out at the plate trying to score.

Auburn's other run came on a perfectly executed bunt single by Tomscha to score Glevenyak. Tella then doubled to left, but the inning ended when Tomscha was thrown out at the plate.

Tennessee opened the eighth inning with a double to right field by Scott Price for the Vols' first extra base hit of the series. After A.J. Simock was retired on a fly ball to right field, Golloway pulled Thompson after 107 pitches and brought in Jay Wade, who was greeted by an infield single off his glove by Will Maddox.

The Vols got their first run on a groundout to the second base and then Stewart's RBI single up the middle made the score 4-2 before another groundout ended the inning.

The Tigers stranded runners on second and third in the top of the ninth inning, but it didn't matter as Dedrick didn't allow the Vols to threaten in the bottom half of the inning.

"I?tried to work ahead, get early strikes, and then I could throw whatever I wanted," Dedrick said of the key to his success in Saturday's game after struggling in his Friday outing.

At the plate Ebert led the Tigers with three hits while Haecker, Tella and Glevenyak finished with two apiece.

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