Auburn, Ala.--Auburn pounded Tennessee pitching for 17 hits as the Tigers won Friday night's SEC series opener 12-6 at Plainsman Park.
Tennessee falls to 15-8, 4-3 in league play.
The story of Friday night's game was at the plate as Auburn scored runs in five different innings with production coming from top to bottom in the order. Coach Tommy Slater said his team really had a good look at Vol starter Steve Crnkovich and that jump-started a big offensive night in the victory.
Especially key was Auburn's ability to answer Tennessee. Twice on the night Tennessee scored runs only to have the Tigers equal or better that total in the bottom of the inning.
"Our kids really had a nice approach to their starter," Slater said. "We had a nice game plan going in. I thought our guys really had a great approach.
"We didn't help Grant (starter Grant Dayton) a whole lot in the sixth," Slater added. "We didn't play good defense behind him when they put up a three-spot to get back in the game. Our kids have been having good at-bats up and down the lineup."
On the mound Auburn got a solid performance from starter Grant Dayton. Earning the win to improve to 3-1, Dayton allowed five earned runs in six innings on nine hits. Evan Crawford came on and allowed a hit in one and one/third innings while Bryan Woodall got the save, his seventh of the year. Woodall said getting the Friday night victory was important for his team.
"It's huge," Woodall said. "You come out and win the first game of the series. We played good in the mid-week and it has kind of carried us to the weekend like it did last week. We just have to come out and play strong again tomorrow."
Woodall leads the SEC in saves with seven this season.
Woodall was a part of perhaps the biggest play of the night in the bottom of the eighth inning. Leading just 8-6 with runners on first and second and just one out, Woodall came on to replace Crawford in a huge situation. Facing shortstop Danny Lima, Woodall got the strikeout and Ryan Jenkins completed a double play by throwing out Shawn Griffin attempting to steal second.
Woodall noted that the double play was an important part of Friday's night's win.
"That was pretty nice," he said. "Coach (Butch) Thompson did a really good job of calling a good sequence on the guy. He had chased the slider away and then Jenkins made the perfect throw to second base to get the guy. It was a perfect play all the way around."
Looking to continue its roll of scoring first, Auburn got the offense rolling early as Mummey singled to left field and quickly moved to second on a sacrifice bunt by Justin Hargett. A pop up by Mike Bianucci looked as if it would leave the Tigers scoreless, but a two out single by freshman Morris to center field scored Mummey to make it 1-0 Tigers.
The Volunteers came back to tie the game in the top of the second off Dayton as Griffin doubled to left field on a blooper and scored moments later on a bloop single to right off the bat of Lima. It didn't seem to faze Auburn on this night though as the Tigers came back to put three on the board in the bottom of the second.
Leading off, left fielder Brian Fletcher smoked a single to left field to get the inning off with a bang and stole second to move into scoring position. Jenkins followed with a sharp ground ball that was booted by the Tennessee third baseman. Fletcher scored on the play to put Auburn back in front. A walk to Matt Hall followed to put runners on the corners with still nobody out.
Following a Mummey pop-up to short, Hargett put down his second bunt of the game. Jenkins scored easily on the play to make it 3-1 Tigers. Back to back singles by Bianucci and Morris followed before a Joseph Sanders fly ball brought things to a close, but not before Auburn had built a 4-1 advantage.
Dayton cruised in the top of the third, and once again Auburn came back with more offense in the bottom of the inning. With two outs and nobody on, Jenkins worked a walk to give the Tigers a little life. A Hall single followed to bring Mummey to the plate with a RBI chance. The freshman delivered with a double down the right field line to score both Jenkins and Hall and make it 6-1 Tigers.
Mummey is congratulated by Coach Bill Mosiello after one of his three hits on Friday night.
Tennessee came back with two in the fourth on a two-run homer by Griffin, but Auburn again answered with two in the bottom half. Leading things off, Bianucci reached an error by Kentrail Davis in center field. Hustling into second, Bianucci got into scoring position and one out later raced home on a Sanders single to right field. A Kevin Patterson double followed to score Sanders and give Auburn a commanding 8-3 lead.
It didn't last long as the Vols' offense came to life in the sixth to make a game of it. Leading off in the inning against Dayton, catcher Yan Gomes doubled to left field and quickly moved to third on a single by third baseman Cody Brown. A single by Jeff Lockwood pushed across Gomes before Griffin's third hit of the night loaded the bases for Lima. His slow roller went just under Sanders' glove at third for an error that scored two. Just like that it was 8-6 and things went to interesting in a matter of minutes.
A scoreless seventh set the table for the drama in the top of the eighth. Following Woodall's escape, Auburn came back to put the game away with four runs in the bottom of the inning. Leading off Bianucci again delivered with a double. Morris followed with a double of his own to make it 9-6.
An infield single by Sanders followed by a walk to Patterson set the stage for Jenkins. The catcher doubled to right field to score two and push the lead to five. With two outs Mummey delivered his final blow with a bunt single that scored pinch runner Justin Jones from third base.
Woodall closed the door in the ninth to give the Tigers the win. The hit was Mummey's third and also his third RBI. He said it was just a matter of opportunity Friday night.
"I got a lot of chances at the plate to get some RBI," Mummey said. "That's thanks to my teammates. They did a really good job of hitting the ball. You can't get RBI without teammates. We did a great job of swinging the bats and staying through balls. We got a lot of hits."
In addition to the trio of three-hit performers, Bianucci added two hits and two runs scored while both Fletcher and Hall had two hits each as well. Griffin led Tennessee with four hits, part of an 11-hit attack for the Volunteers.
Saturday true freshman Cory Luckie gets the call on Saturday at 3 p.m. as the Tigers look to win their second consecutive series. The game follows the A-Day football game at Jordan-Hare Stadium scheduled for a 1 p.m. start.