Tigers Use Balanced Attack To Beat Bulldogs

Five different Auburn players drove in runs in Friday night's victory over the Georgia Bulldogs.

Athens, Ga.–-Auburn scored three runs in the fifth inning and held on for a 5-4 victory over the Georgia Bulldogs Friday night at Foley Field. The win improves the Tigers to 31-20 overall and 12-13 in SEC play while Georgia falls to 25-22, 9-15 in conference action. With the victory Auburn moves into a tie for 7th place in the league with Vanderbilt, one-half game ahead of Mississippi State.

This game was one that was won for Auburn with clutch hitting from every part of the order and two-out hits from the Tigers. On the mound the combination of Arnold Hughey, John Madden and Michael Nix had just enough to hold off the Bulldogs late and keep Auburn in the thick of things in the SEC race. Coach Tommy Slater said that he was pleased with the way his team kept fighting on Friday night and eventually did enough to get the win.

"I was very excited with the way we came out and approached (Michael) Hyle tonight," Slater said. "I thought we had some really good at-bats in the early part of the game. We really did a nice job of situationally hitting. We did a good job of getting runs in from third with less than two outs. Obviously those runs were big for us and we made them stand up. Our guys did a good job of driving in runs with two outs as well. Just some good situational hitting tonight."

Karl Amonite had two hits in the Tiger victory.

Auburn got on the board first against the Bulldogs as the middle of the order came through for the Tigers. Leading things off, first baseman Karl Amonite hit a sharp liner into right-center field that got all the way to the wall for a double. With Jeff Boutwell at the plate Amonite moved to third on a wild pitch. That set the table for Boutwell who hit a ground ball that easily scored Amonite to put the Tigers up 1-0.

Georgia answered with authority in the third inning as number nine hitter Matthew Dunn led things off with a single into center field that Bruce Edwards misplayed allowing him to get all the way to third. Bobby Felmy followed with a single to right field that scored Dunn to tie the game with nobody out. Back-to-back bunt singles by Jason Jacobs and Kyle Keen loaded the bases with nobody out against Hughey and put the Tigers in serious trouble.

It appeared Auburn would escape things without much damage as Josh Morris hit a sharp grounder to Josh Donaldson at third base. The true freshman stepped on third and threw to Amonite at first for the double play. Although a run scored that could have been a big play for the Tigers, but a single by Joey Side scored the third run of the inning to put the Bulldogs up 3-1 heading to the fourth.

The Tigers got a run back in the top of the fourth thanks to some clutch two-out hitting by the middle of the order once again. After Josh Bell and Amonite were sat down to start the inning, Boutwell hit a long fly ball that hit off the base of the wall in center field for a double. True freshman Russell Dixon then hit a blooper into center field that fell for a single. Boutwell scored on the play to cut the lead down to one and give the Tigers some life.

Continuing the comeback, Auburn took the lead back in the fifth inning. With one out in the frame number nine hitter Adam Stacey singled to bring the top of the order to the plate. That was a good thing on this night as Tyler Johnstone singled into left field and the aggressive Stacey went to third on the hit. Heads-up, Johnstone took advantage of the play to move to second and give the Tigers two runners in scoring position.

Doing his job, Clete Thomas got a pitch to pull and hit the ball to the right side of the infield. Although he was out, Stacey scored to tie the game and bring Bell to the plate. Auburn's leading two-out hitter, Bell doubled into right field for his 22nd two-out RBI this season. The hit gave the Tigers the 4-3 lead, but they weren't finished. Amonite was up next and he singled off the glove of second baseman Jacobs into center field. The glove on the ball was just enough to allow Bell to score and give Auburn a 5-3 advantage heading to the bottom of the fifth.

The advantage didn't last long as Jacobs got one back to lead off the inning with a long home run to left. It was his fourth of the season and the ninth given up by Hughey this season. That would be all for the Bulldogs the rest of the way though as Madden and Nix came on to shut down the Bulldogs the rest of the way. For Nix it was his 13th save of the season, which leads the SEC. He's also second in the country in saves and the total is just six away from Auburn's all-time single-season record held by Finley Woodward.

Hughey earned the victory for the Tigers to improve to 6-4 on the season while Hyle falls to 3-4. Auburn's senior lefty allowed nine hits and four earned runs in five innings to get the win. Madden and Nix combined to allow just two hits over the final four innings to preserve the victory. At the plate the Tigers were led by Johnstone, Amonite and Dixon, who all had two hits. Five different Auburn players drove in runs as the Tigers got a team victory on Friday.

Box Score

Saturday the Tigers and Bulldogs will take the field at noon for the second game of the season. Junior Josh Sullivan will be on the mound for Auburn against Sean Ruthven for Georgia.

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