With the game tied at three in the ninth, Troy State's Michael Clement tallied a walk-off single to score pinch runner Landon Brazell from third base as the Trojans defeated seventh-ranked Auburn, 4-3, at Paterson Field Wednesday evening. The victory was only the second for the Trojans over Auburn in the last 10 meetings.
"We were beat by a better team tonight," said Auburn head coach Steve Renfroe. "They outplayed us in every phase of the game and made the plays when they had to."
Brazell pinch ran for Wade Miller who walked with one out in the ninth off Tigers' reliever Michael Nix. After Nix struck out Clint Robinson for the second out of the inning, Brian Bennett sent Brazell to third with a pinch hit single to set up Clement's game-winner. Nate Moore (4-0) picked up the win in relief for the Trojans after striking out two in a perfect ninth inning. Nix (1-1) took the loss for Auburn after allowing a run in 1 1/3 innings.
Auburn starter Colby Paxton had a solid outing for the Tigers, allowing a pair of runs in the first before settling in and pitching well. For the game Paxton allowed two runs on four hits in three and one/third innings. Troy State scored twice in the bottom of the first before Auburn scored single runs in the fifth, sixth and seventh innings to take a 3-2 lead.
After Auburn stranded runners in each of the first four innings, in the fifth they came through when Josh Bell singled through the right side scoring right fielder Ben Sprague from second base with one out. The Tigers tied the game in the sixth inning on Clete Thomas' ground out, scoring Josh Sullivan from third base. Sullivan was hit by pitch to begin the inning, advanced to second on a single from Ben Maitland, who was back in the lineup after missing much of the last three weeks because of an eye irritation, and went to third wild pitch by Trojan pitcher Alex Holloway.
Auburn took the lead in the seventh on back-to-back doubles by Bell and Sean Gamble before Troy State answered with a run to tie the game in the eighth inning. The hit by Gamble broke a 0-17 slump for the Montgomery native. In the bottom of the eighth the Trojans had the bases loaded with one out, however Nix entered the game for Auburn and struck out two batters to get the Tigers out of the jam.
Troy State out-hit Auburn, 13-9 on the evening while the two teams combined to strand 25 runners. Casey O'Quinn and Wade Miller each had three hits to lead TSU while Bell and Thomas had a pair of hits for Auburn. The Tigers struck out a disturbing 10 times on the night against Trojan pitching.
Auburn opens Southeastern Conference play this weekend when it hosts Kentucky for a three-game series at Plainsman Park. Friday's series opener begins at 6:30 p.m. CT and the pitching rotations have not been decided for either team. Saturday's game is scheduled for 3 p.m. following the A-Day football game, which begins at 1 p.m. Sunday's game is set for 12:15.