Tigers Get Come From Behind Victory Against GT

Atlanta, Ga.--True freshman Josh Donaldson scored on a wild pitch with two outs in the top of the 11th inning to give the Auburn Tigers a 7-6 victory over the fourth-ranked Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets Wednesday night.

"I was really proud of our guys," Auburn coach Tommy Slater said. "They played so hard and gave really great approaches at the plate all night long. Our pitching staff did a tremendous job of pitching to a very good Georgia Tech club."

After trailing from the second inning until tying the game in the ninth with two runs, Donaldson was looking to give the Tigers some life as led off the 11th inning and just got enough of a fastball to flip it into center field for a single. Auburn then played small ball as consecutive ground balls moved Donaldson to third with two outs and Clete Thomas at the plate. Needing a hit or mistake by Georgia Tech to score, Donaldson broke from third on a wild pitch to the plate and scored easily to put Auburn ahead 7-6.

Michael Nix earned the victory for the Tigers, pitching four strong innings in relief to hand Georgia Tech its first loss in 12 games. Nix said that he just felt like it was his game to win or lose and he wanted this one in a very bad way.

"I was very fortunate to have location tonight and my fastball had some life on it," Nix said. "If you just go out there with confidence and throw strikes good things will happen for you. When you located your fastball there's not much else you need to do. I threw a couple of sliders in the first two innings I threw, but they didn't seem like they could hit my fastball so coach said 'hey, don't speed their bats up just throw strikes'."

Trailing 6-4 heading to the ninth inning the Tigers needed some help from the bottom of the order and that happened as shortstop Phillip Stringer and pinch hitter Russell Dixon reached safely to bring second baseman Tyler Johnstone to the plate. Attempting to bunt on the first two strikes, Johnstone gave that idea up and it was a good thing he did as the junior hit a liner just inside the first base that scored both runners to tie the game and sent Johnstone all the way to third.

Unfortunately for Auburn that's where he would remain as both Bruce Edwards and Thomas struck out to put the pressure on the middle of the order. First baseman Karl Amonite walked to bring Josh Bell to the plate. Bell, who had two home runs on the night, also struck out to end the Auburn threat and send the game to the bottom of the ninth tied at six.

That was just fine for Nix, who continued to mow down Yellow Jacket hitters every inning. Coming on the eighth, Nix got Auburn to the top of the 11th inning still tied and that's when the Donaldson's heroics gave the Tigers the lead.

In the 11th Nix gave up his only hit in four innings of work with two outs and nobody on. Following a two-out single by Steven Blackwood in the 11th Nix struck out the final Georgia Tech hitter to earn the victory for the Tigers.

Early on it was all Georgia Tech as the Yellow Jackets scored five runs in the second inning off Auburn starter Mike Felix and one more in the fourth, but wouldn't score again thanks to some solid middle relief pitching by Cliff Mullins, Jared Shore, Grant Cardwell and John Madden. Auburn hung around thanks to Bell, whose second home run in the eighth inning brought Auburn to within two. From there the Tigers would earn the victory.

Johnstone and Stringer led the way for the Tigers at the plate with three hits each while both Bell and Ben Sprague had two hits for the Tigers. Center fielder Danny Payne had two hits to lead the Yellow Jackets. Matt Wieters took the loss for GT, giving up a run in two and one/thirds innings of work.

Auburn (17-7) travels to Baton Rouge this weekend to face the 2nd ranked LSU Tigers while Georgia Tech (19-3) heads to Miami to face the always-tough Hurricanes for a three-game series.

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