Three Is The Magic Number As AU Tops Cats 7-5

Auburn hit three two-run homers in a Sunday baseball victory over Kentucky.

Lexington, Ky.--Auburn used three two-run homers and a solid pitching performance from freshman starter Dexter Price to defeat the Kentucky Wildcats 7-5 Sunday afternoon and end a nine-game losing streak in conference play.

Brian Fletcher had two of the home runs while Trent Mummey added the other to help Auburn (28-24, 9-18) get a win heading into the last week of the regular season.

"It was a good win for our club," Coach John Pawlowski said. "It certainly seems like it has been a while. To the kids' credit they kept battling. It wasn't easy. We made some mistakes on the bases today. We were fortunately able to overcome that. Fletch swung the bat well. When you look at this game the big difference I thought was Dexter Price."

Moved into the SEC rotation three weeks ago, Price again responded well with his best outing of the season on Sunday. Pitching six innings, the freshman allowed just two runs on six hits and struck out three to earn the win. Pawlowski said he showed a lot of toughness on Sunday.

"I thought he did a really good job today of getting deep into the gamein the SEC against a great hitting team. ," Pawlowski said. "He did a very good job for us."

At the plate Fletcher and Wes Gilmer each had two of Auburn's six total hits, but the Tigers worked 11 walks from Kentucky pitchers with freshman Dan Gamache having four of those.

Auburn got off to a good start on Sunday as the power that had been missing for the last two SEC weekends finally came back. In the first inning Justin Hargett walked to lead things off, bringing Mummey to the plate. Getting a pitch to hit, the sophomore lifted a high fly ball to right field that just got over the wall for a two-run shot. It was his 15 of the season and gave the Tigers the early lead.

The Tigers added a single run in the second thanks to some wildness from Kentucky starter Alex Meyer. Following a single by Casey McElroy, Gamache, Hargett and finally Mummey walked to push Auburn's lead to 3-0 heading to the bottom of the second.

Continuing to pitch well, Price kept the Wildcats scoreless allowing his offense to come back for more in the third. Another walk, this one to Ben Jones, brought Fletcher to the plate and he delivered the first of his two home runs with a shot to left. The blast was his 15 of the season and put the Tigers ahead 5-0.

Kentucky finally got to Price in the bottom of the fourth as third baseman Andy Burns hit a solo shot to break up the shutout, but Auburn would respond once again with the home run. In the sixth Fletcher came up with Hunter Morris on first base and got a fastball out over the plate from Kentucky reliever Logan Darnell.

He deposited it deep over the scoreboard in right field for his second bomb of the day and 16th of the season. Now leading 7-1, Auburn would have to hold on for the victory against a scrappy Kentucky team.

Price would last until the bottom of the seventh as a leadoff single by Brendan Kapetyn brought his day to a close. Sophomore Bradley Hendrix came on in relief for the Tigers, but didn't make it through the inning as a one-out double by Chris Farris put runners on second and third. Following a fielder's choice that scored a run, Burns singled home another run. A walk to Chris Bisson and another single, this one by Gunner Glad, cut Auburn's lead down to 7-4.

That was all for Hendrix as Hubbard came on to get the final out in the seventh. The Wildcats got a run back in the eighth as Marcus Nidiffer hit a solo homer to make the score 7-5 heading to the ninth. A one out walk by Hubbard to Burns followed by a Bisson single gave Kentucky some life, but the Homewood native got Gunner Glad to hit into a game-ending 6-4-3 double play to secure the win.

Auburn returns home this week for a Tuesday game against Georgia Southern at 6 p.m. CDT before facing Alabama in a three-game series on Thursday-Saturday in Auburn.

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