The win improves Auburn to 9-4 and is the seventh consecutive win for the Tigers. Brown falls to 1-4 with the loss. Reliever Austin Hubbard earned his second victory of the season as he pitched two and one/thirds innings, allowing just one run on four hits.
At the plate the Tigers had 12 hits led by two big ones from the freshman McElroy. Twice coming from down to take the lead and eventually the win, coach John Pawlowski said he liked what he saw out of his team on Sunday and for the entire weekend.
"We were down 8-4 and the one characteristic I have seen from this team that has shown already in the early stages of the season is that we have the ability to come back," Pawlowski said. "We feel like we can come back. We did it again today being down 8-4. Fletch hits that ball down there for a triple down in the corner. It's a good win for us. It's hard to beat anybody four times and we're very fortunate. A good ballgame and a good win for us today."
Down 9-8 with one out in the bottom of the 11th, designated hitter Hunter Morris ripped a ball through the right side for a single, his second hit of the day, and was removed for the pinch runner Ray. Fletcher then stepped to the plate, got a pitch to drive, and tripled home Ray to tie the game and put Auburn in a position for the sweep.
"I get to the plate with a guy on first and my whole mentality was to try to get a ball to the right side," Fletcher said. "Moving him to third was my goal. I was trying to let the ball be up a little bit so I could drive it that way. Luckily I got a fastball away that I could handle and took it that way."
With the winning run on third base, Kevin Patterson was intentionally walked and pinch hitter Wes Gilmer hit by a pitch to load the bases for McElroy. The tough freshman fought back from a two-strike count and laced a ball into left field that the diving Brown player couldn't come up with. Fletcher scored on the play to give Auburn the dramatic 10-9 victory.
"There was a lot of tension with two strikes," McElroy said. "The crowd was getting into it. My main goal was just to make contact that at-bat. Fortunately it came up pretty big for us."
Senior Ben Jones rounds third and receives a handshake from coach Matt Heath following his third home run of the season.
The Tigers got on the board first in the bottom of the second as Tony Caldwell and McElroy had back to back singles with one out to get things started. It appeared as if Justin Hargett's ground ball back to pitcher Matt Boylan was going to end the inning as he turned and threw to shortstop Graham Tyler to start the double play. However the second base umpire ruled Tyler missed second base. In the confusion the ball was thrown back into the infield allowing Caldwell to put Auburn up 1-0.
After struggling the first two innings, O'Neil gave up his first run in the third as Matt Colatonio singled, moved to second on a sacrifice bunt, and scored on a Ryan Zrenda triple. That tied the game for Brown and the Bears would take their first lead just one inning later as a two-out walk to Mike DiBiase preceded a Graham home run. That put Brown up 3-1 heading to the bottom of the fourth.
Auburn managed to cut a run off the lead as doubles by Patterson and McElroy made it 3-2 Brown after four. The Tigers would take the lead back an inning later as Mummey singled and stole second. Jones then made his first big swing of the day as his blast over the right field wall put Auburn back in front 4-3. Unfortunately it wouldn't last long as Auburn's bullpen imploded in the sixth to put the Tigers in a deep hole.
In for Auburn starter Chris O'Neil to close out the fifth, Scott Shuman wouldn't make it through the sixth as Brown had three hits, two walks, a wild pitch and a passed ball in the inning off he and Harper to put five runs on the board and move back in front 8-4.
Following a scoreless top of the seventh by Harper on the mound, Auburn responded in the bottom of the frame to get back in the game. Back to back singles by Hargett and Mummey got things going for the Tigers. Following a pop up by Joseph Sanders, Jones again came through with a double to left field to score both runners and cut the lead down to just two.
Back on the field for the first time this weekend after sitting out because of a sore back, Morris singled to right field to score Jones and make it 8-7 Brown. The Tigers had a great chance to tie it or take the lead as a walk and an error loaded the bases with still just one out, but a strikeout by Caldwell and a McElroy fly ball put an end to the threat with Auburn still down by one.
The Tigers tied it up in the eighth as a Hargett double led to him scoring on a wild pitch to make it 8-8. That's the way things would remain until the top of the 11th when Brown scored on a sacrifice fly to take the lead, setting the stage for Auburn's dramatics to take the win.
In addition to McElroy, Jones, Morris and Hargett had two hits for the Tigers with Jones driving home four. On the mound O'Neil allowed three runs on six hits in four and two/thirds innings. Shuman gave up four runs on two hits in an inning of work. Harper allowed one run in just over an inning while Michael Hurst gave up three hits, but no runs in one and two/thirds.
Auburn returns to action Tuesday night at 7 p.m. when the Tigers face Alabama at Riverwalk Stadium in Montgomery. The Tigers will send senior and Montgomery native Paul Burnside to the mound against the Crimson Tide. Pawlowski said he's looking forward to seeing how his team handles what should be a fun environment.
"Any time you get Auburn and Alabama together, whatever sport it is, it doesn't matter because it's exciting," Pawlowski said. "It's exciting for the fans of the schools. The guys will be excited about playing in it. We're certainly looking forward to it. The City of Montgomery has done a great job in promoting and getting people out there. I think the stadium will be packed. It will be a tremendous college environment."