Auburn's Season Swept Away By LSU

Auburn falls to LSU 8-1 on Saturday to finish the season 28-28 overall and 10-20 in SEC play. The Tigers will miss the SEC Tournament for the first time since 2009.

Auburn, Ala.--A season that started out with dreams of Omaha and the College World Series from first-year coach Sunny Golloway ended without a postseason berth on Saturday as Auburn fell to LSU 8-1 to end the season 28-28 overall and 10-20 in SEC play. Combined with wins by both Tennessee and Georgia that leaves the Tigers out of the SEC Tournament for the first time since 2009.

Even in defeat Golloway said he's proud of the effort his team gave until the last inning of the season. Included in that was a three-hit day from senior second baseman Dan Glevenyak. One of a group of nine seniors playing their last game at Auburn, Golloway said he showed the true spirit of the team.

"That showed the character of those guys," Golloway said. "That's really what comes to mind for me -- that they continued to show good character and fought hard. Somebody like Dan Glevenyak, who fought an injury in the middle of the year and came back really strong. He had three hits today. He played hard. His teammates played hard. I know they're disappointed -- especially in not being able to play in the SEC Tournament after all the optimism we had about going to the NCAA Tournament. My heart hurts for them a little bit. It's a good group of guys."

The loss makes eight SEC home losses in a row to finish the season and gives Auburn a final home conference record of 4-11. That is the worst mark for an Auburn team since the SEC expanded in 1992 but Golloway said he feel like the foundation is in place for his program moving forward.

"The foundation in which we feel we built, it didn't show up in wins or losses, so I understand that it's hard on the surface to see any kind of progress but I know what we've done and I know what we're building and I know how we're building it," Golloway said. "If you want to really have a good program and you want to be a solid program for years to come, you've got to build a foundation and a lot of times after a house has been built, nobody ever sees the foundation, but this one won't have any cracks in it."

Much of the reason for that is a lack of offensive production for a team that entered the season expected to be a team that could swing the bat with anybody. Since starting off the SEC 4-2 with wins over Texas A&M and Tennessee, Auburn has averaged just 4.3 runs per game in league play. In 17 of 24 games the Tigers scored three runs or less.

Saturday's loss was a microcosm of Auburn's season in 2014 as the Tigers couldn't take advantage of opportunities with runners in scoring position. The only run of the game came on a leadoff home run by freshman Anfernee Grier to open the game while Auburn failed in all seven opportunities with runners in scoring position.

"That's a big key in the game, there's no doubt about it," Golloway said. "That's something that needs to be approached in the offseason with us and when we get back to work in the fall. Attention has to turn to right now to finishing recruiting and completing our roster for next year. We've got to address the weaknesses we have and make sure that they're fixed.

"We were playing our worst baseball this weekend and that's on me. That's on me, the people that I hired to help me. I make those decisions. I make the decisions of how we train, I make the decisions in the lineup, I make the decisions in what we do, so it starts with me and I'm not going to be too hard on myself. It's my first year. We'll evaluate it, we'll make the changes that we feel we need to make and we'll move forward. And we'll use this year as a valuable learning tool."

Anfernee Grier crosses the plate with the only run of the game for Auburn

Despite throwing 46 pitches in his start on Thursday night, Auburn senior Dillon Ortman was back on the mound Saturday trying to keep the Tigers in the hunt for postseason play. While he was able to make it four innings it was obvious Ortman wasn't himself starting for the third time in eight days. Giving up three runs on seven hits in four innings, Ortman said he just wanted to give it one more shot in his final home game at Plainsman Park.

"I felt okay," Ortman said. "I felt fine. I did the best I could but I really wanted to go out there today to kind of prove to myself that I gave it my all this weekend. LSU, they beat me. Good luck to them.

"That's why I wanted to come out today and give it my best, that's all I could do. I challenged my teammates to just give it their best. This weekend we knew what we had to do. As long as you go out with your head up saying you played your best.

"It was a rollercoaster ride. We came out and were on top but we just didn't finish the deal. We knew what we had to do and we just didn't do it this weekend. Give credit to LSU. They came out this weekend and played great. This season has been a rough one but there is always next year for some of these guys. I wouldn't change it."

Auburn actually took the lead on Saturday in the first when Grier launched a solo homer over the green monster in left field for his first home run of the season. Entering the game with a 3-2 record and an ERA of 2.51, LSU left-hander Kyle Bouman allowed just three hits and no runs the rest of the way before coming out after five innings.

By that time LSU (40-14-1, 17-11-1) had a 3-1 lead thanks to a two-run homer by Kade Scivicque in the second inning and an RBI single from the part-time catcher in the fourth.

That's how things would remain until the seventh. After pitching a pair of scoreless innings, senior Reid Carter allowed a leadoff double to Scivicque before Christian Ibarra attempted to bunt him into scoring position. Putting the ball down the third base line, the bunt was fielded by Connor Short but his throw to Dan Glevenyak was mishandled. The error left runners on first and third with nobody out.

With the top of the order coming up for LSU, Auburn went to the bullpen for senior Ryan Tella. Facing Mark Laird, he got a ground ball to Damek Tomscha at first. Turning to throw to second, Tomscha got the first out but the throw to the plate was late allowing Scivicque to score. A single and back-to-back walks pushed across another run for the 5-1 LSU lead but the damage was far from done. Ripping a ball off the glove of Tomscha at first for a single, Andrew Stevenson advanced to second when Glevenyak's throw to Blake Austin at the plate was off the mark. Two runs would score and before the inning was done LSU would build to a seven-run advantage.

That's all the visiting Tigers would need on the way to the series sweep as they enter the SEC Tournament with plenty of momentum and a first round bye. Auburn on the other hand packs up the bats and gloves until next season. For Golloway he turns his attention to next season, but for Ortman and the senior class it is a bitter pill to swallow.

"It was disappointing a little bit," Ortman said. "We had high hopes this year and high expectations, but we were shooting for those high expectations. That's why it's such a disappointing year. For us not to get to Hoover is big. I have been the last three years. This is a team, we were always pretty good. We weren't great, but we were pretty good. We were always in a lot of games."

Click HERE for the stats from Tuesday night's game.

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