Second Verse, Same As The First

For a second straight night, the Auburn baseball Tigers took a dramatic 6-5 victory with a ninth inning rally.

Auburn, Ala.--Freshman Chuck Jeroloman doubled home fellow freshman Tug Hulett in the bottom of the ninth inning to propel the Auburn Tigers (29-19, 11-12) to a come-from-behind 6-5 win Saturday night over the Vanderbilt Commodores (19-23, 4-17).

Trailing 5-0 in the sixth inning, Auburn outscored Vanderbilt 6-0 the rest of the way on the road to its second-straight ninth-inning win.

The story of the night for the Tigers was the play of all the freshmen. Jeroloman had three hits on the night as did left fielder Sean Gamble. Hulett added one hit. but also added a big walk to open the ninth inning.

Right fielder Doug Vines chipped in with a hit as well as the four totaled eight of Auburn's 14 hits on the night. But without a doubt the hero on the night was Jeroloman.

Freshman shortstop Chuck Jeroloman had a big game for the Tigers with three hits.

"He's a tough kid," Auburn coach Steve Renfroe said following the win. "I really knew they would walk Doug, but I didn't feel bad. We said we're going to do it. He's just one of those kids, a real tough kid and he's a clutch performer. All those freshman have been. I felt good with him up there."

Tied at five-all just like on Friday night, the Tigers sent the bottom of the order to the plate trying for the win. Hulett led off the inning facing Vanderbilt reliever Dean Bennett. Working the count, he earned a walk to put the eventual winning run on base much to the chagrin of the Vanderbilt coaching staff. Replacing Bennett with Jeff Sues, the Commodores got ahead of Scott Schade 0-2, but Sues tried to be cute and catch Hulett napping at first. The only problem was he threw the ball over the head of 6-foot-5 first baseman Sean Luellwitz allowing Hulett to advance to second as he just beat the throw to the second base bag.

Schade couldn't advance Hulett though as he flew out to short right field for the first out of the inning. That brought Vines to the plate and playing the percentages, the Commodores intentionally walked the right fielder to put the double play in order. That brought Jeroloman to the plate and he said he welcomed the opportunity.

"I was happy," Jeroloman said with a smile. "I was pumped that he intentionally walked him. I wanted the chance to do it."

That chance came on a 2-0 pitch just seconds later. Getting a fastball out over the plate, the lanky Jeroloman drilled a towering shot deep over center fielder Karl Nonemaker's head that easily plated Hulett from second base. Pouring out of the dugout to greet all three players involved, their teammates mobbed the trio that won the game in the ninth.

"I was just really looking for a pitch to drive," Jeroloman said. "They had brought in their outfield and I just wanted to hit one deep somewhere. I got my pitch and jumped on it…it was great. Our guys pulled together and did a great job tonight."

Freshman Steven Register earned his second win in two days as he pitched a scoreless ninth inning in relief after the Tigers tied the game in the eighth. Starter Levale Speigner, pitching after taking two final exams earlier in the day, only made it four innings and allowed eight hits and four runs on clearly a bad day on the mound. Relievers Arnold Hughey, Ken Clayton and Mike Mueller combined with Register to hold the Commodores at bay until the Auburn bats could wake up vs. Vanderbilt starter Steven Faulkner.

Junior Levale Speigner got the start on the mound for the Tigers.

That happened in the sixth. Trailing 5-0 and not looking good in the process, the Tigers needed a spark and it came from junior Bobby Huddleston. Jumping on the first pitch, he lined a double to deep left-center field to create some energy in the Auburn dugout for the first time on the night.

"It was really ugly at first," Renfroe said. "Levale was not sharp and our older guys were definitely not sharp with runners on base...Bobby's big double got us excited and got us going. His double was huge. We needed that."

With a newfound energy the Tigers began to pound the Commodore pitching. Trent Pratt followed Huddleston with a single to right field, moving him to third base with nobody out. After a fly out by Hulett, Schade looped a double down the right field line to score Huddleston with Auburn's first run and put runners on second and third. A Vines groundout scored Pratt and alertly moved Schade to third base with two outs. It proved to be big as Jeroloman singled sharply to left field to score Schade on a ball he may have been hard-pressed to score on from second base. Now trailing just 5-3, things were beginning to look up.

Auburn would add a single run in the seventh as a Gamble single to begin the inning eventually led to him scoring on a Hulett single with two outs in the inning. In the eighth it was Vines that got things going with a single to lead things off. A perfect sacrifice bunt by Jeroloman moved him to second with Jonathan Schuerholz coming to the plate. Just missing the pitch, the junior third baseman lifted a deep fly ball to center field that moved Vines to third with two outs.

After Gamble was hit by a pitch, center fielder Javon Moran continued to swing a hot bat as he hit a high chopper over Luellwitz's head at first base and into right field for a single that scored Vines. Now tied at five the Tigers were set up for the dramatic win in the ninth.

In addition to the freshmen, Moran added two hits for the Tigers to give him seven-straight games with multiple hits. On the night Auburn's freshmen combined to go 9-17 as pinch-hitter Kyle Bohm added an infield single in the ninth inning. Nonemaker led the way for the Commodores with three hits and designated hitter Scott Shapiro added two hits and three runs batted in.

The Tigers and Commodores play the final game of the three-game series beginning Sunday afternoon at 1:30 when Eric Brandon takes the mound against freshman Jeremy Sowers from Vanderbilt . Brandon is 3-2 on the year with a 5.05 ERA while Sowers is 4-5 with a 4.09 earned run average. The Tigers now find themselves just one-half game behind Mississippi State for seventh-place in the SEC standings following Saturday's play after a Bulldog loss on Saturday.

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