Auburn, Ala.--How sweep it is.
For the first time since 1987, the Auburn Tigers swept the Florida Gators and Coach Butch Thompson’s club did it in dramatic fashion with a walk-off in the bottom of the ninth inning to take a 6-5 win on Sunday.
Already with a huge at-bat earlier in the game with a leadoff triple in the seventh and eventually scoring the tying run, senior Blake Logan led off the ninth with a single to start the rally as part of his three hit-day. Freshman Will Holland’s bunt single put runners on first and second for the Tigers where pinch runner J.J. Shaffer replaced Logan at second.
At the plate with a chance to move the runners over, center fielder Jonah Todd’s bunt back to pitcher Frank Rubio was fielded cleanly but his throw to third was wild. The ball rolled down the left field line allowing Shaffer to score the winning run and set off a wild celebration at Plainsman Park.
“Unbelievable,” Logan said. “That’s why you play the game. You come here to play against the best. To go out in that style, we haven’t had a walk-off this year. For that to happen was just awesome.”
Blake Logan's three hits raises his average to .346 on the season
With the win Auburn improves to 17-5 overall and 3-0 in SEC play while the #5 Gators fall to 13-8, 0-3 in league action. The last time Auburn started 3-0 in league play was 2010 following a sweep of Georgia on the road.
Despite the heroics the day would not have been possible without the pitching of Calvin Coker out of the Auburn bullpen. Entering the game in the fourth inning, Coker pitched four scoreless innings of relief and turned things over to Andrew Mitchell in the ninth. Mitchell’s perfect ninth inning gave him his fourth win of the season and a day that Mitchell will always remember.
“I filled up the zone today and sure enough good things happened,” Coker said. “It worked out. It’s nice because it gives you a lot of confidence going forward. Just being able to fill up the zone, I got really tired at the end of my outing and it was just nice knowing I could locate pitches and have it sink.”
The victory gives Thompson and the Tigers a huge start on the 2017 SEC schedule and now he’s just ready to see his team continue to grow and learn from the situation moving forward.
“I’m just thankful the ball bounced our way on consecutive days and the ball wound up finding a way for us to get a victory,” Thompson said. “I like our team getting off to a good start and that’s positive.”
Following two very good pitching performances to start the weekend Auburn had to piece things together on Sunday after freshman starter Davis Daniel lasted just two and a third innings and gave up four runs on three hits. Corey Herndon replaced him, giving up a run on four hits in one and two/thirds innings.
Auburn got the scoring started right away in the first against Kowar. With one out Bowen McGuffin singled to bring the hot-hitting Jay Estes to the plate. Already with three doubles on the weekend, Estes smoked a deep fly ball to left-center that dropped in front of the wall for yet another double. McGuffin easily scored on the play to put the Tigers in front early.
Struggling with his control early, things finally caught up with Daniel in the third inning. Giving up a leadoff single to Mike Rivera, Daniel allowed a double to Andrew Baker to put runners on second and third with one out for the heart of the Florida order.