Athens, Ga.--After taking an early two-run lead, Auburn allowed Georgia to score six unanswered runs as the No. 10 Auburn baseball team fell to Georgia, 6-2, in the series finale on Sunday at Foley Field. The loss dropped Auburn to 18-6, 0-3 in the Southeastern Conference while Georgia improved to 8-11, 3-0 SEC.
Just like in the first two games of the series, Auburn scored first on Sunday but as was the case on Friday and Saturday, Georgia responded to claw out a close win over the Tigers with a strong pitching performance from its starter and bullpen.
In the first, the Tigers got things going early as back-to-back singles by Bruce Edwards and Luke Greinke put Auburn in business. A Josh Donaldson ground ball moved both runners over into scoring positions where Robert Brooks (2-for-3, RBI) and Andy Bennett (0-for-3) pushed runs across for the Tigers on a single and a sac fly to center. Despite the good start, that would be it for the Tigers as they could not add to the lead the rest of the way despite getting a runner on base in every inning but the fourth.
Georgia cut the lead to a run in the second on Rich Poythress' RBI double off starter Evan Crawford and tied it at 2-2 in the third on Ryan Peisel's RBI single that scored Jonathan Wyatt from third base after his one-out triple. The Bulldogs then broke the tie in the bottom of the fourth as Poythress drew a two-out walk and Matt Robbins followed with his first home run of the season, a shot that just cleared the wall in right. At that point Georgia had collected six hits and four runs off Crawford to take the lead.
Auburn kept Georgia in check for the next three innings, not surrendering another hit until the eighth, when Georgia scored two runs on a hit, two walks, an error and a hits batter. With reliever Brett Butts working into his third inning of the day, the Tigers went to the bullpen with one on and one out in the eighth.
True freshman Scott Shuman came on to try to hold the Auburn lead but unfortunately it wasn't to be this weekend as he quickly gave up a double and a Brooks error on a ground ball only added to the frustration level for the Tigers. The error pushed across the first run of the inning. Shuman then hit a batter to load the bases and bring his day to an end. Fellow reliever Justin Bristow then walked home the second run of the inning to give Georgia a commanding lead on the way to the sweep.
Justin Earls (2-1) earned the win for Georgia, going 6.1 innings, allowing two runs on seven hits and two walks, striking out four. Crawford suffered his first loss of the season to fall to 3-1, allowing four runs on six hits and two walks while striking out four in five and one/thirds innings. At the plate Edwards, Donaldson and Brooks all had two hits for the Tigers while Peisel's two hits led Georgia.
Auburn will not play a mid-week contest this week before returning to the diamond for another weekend of SEC play when Florida travels to Plainsman Park beginning on Friday, March 24. Game times for the series are 6pm CT on Friday and 2pm on Saturday and Sunday. The first two games will be aired on the Sunshine Network while CSS will also carry the Saturday game as well as the Sunday contest.