Tigers Power Past LSU To Even Series

Auburn pounded out 12 hits to take an 11-7 win over #3 LSU on Saturday and even the series.

Auburn, Ala.--Looking to even the series against number three LSU, the Auburn Tigers got going early and never looked back on Saturday as they built a seven-run lead and held on in the ninth to win 11-7. It was the first win over LSU in the last eight games for Auburn and moves the Tigers to 21-11 overall and 6-5 in SEC play.

The story of the game was the offensive attack led by 2-3-4 hitters Trent Mummey, Brian Fletcher and Hunter Morris. The trio were a combined 9-13 with six RBI and scored eight of Auburn's 11 runs in the win. Coach John Pawlowski said the production from those three was the difference for the Tigers.

"When you look at Mummey and Fletcher and Hunter Morris, the middle three guys in our lineup, I believe they were on base nine times today. Trent Mummey has provided us with some spark right there. Those guys did a good job and found a way to get on base. I thought that was the key."

On the flip side the pitching of reliever Sean Ray saved the day for the Tigers. With starter Jon Luke Jacobs experiencing shoulder tenderness and only pitching one inning, Ray came on in relief and allowed just two runs on five hits in four and two/thirds innings to earn his second win of the season. He said for him it was just another outing although it started a little earlier than normal.

"I expected my role to be like every other weekend, to come out of the pen," Ray said. "For whatever reason they felt like they wanted to bring me in. I struggled a little bit in the beginning, but I was able to get it together. Our offense did a tremendous job for us today."

Sean Ray got the win for Auburn.

Auburn struck first as the Tigers struck in the bottom of the first for four runs. A bunt single by Justin Fradejas and a walk to Mummey put the home team in great position early on a beautiful Saturday at Plainsman Park. A single to left by Fletcher scored Fradejas and left runners on first and second with nobody out for Morris. Not normally a bunt situation, it was as this day as Morris put down a perfect bunt and reached on a hit to load the bases with still nobody out.

Struggling to find his rhythm, LSU starter Chris Matulis walked Tony Caldwell to force in another run. A wild pitch, another walk, and a sacrifice fly by third baseman Wes Gilmer made it 4-0 Auburn going to the second inning. That would bring on Ray for Jacobs and he struggled to get into the groove early as he walked the speedy Leon Landry to open the second.

Following a strikeout on which Landry stole second on the play, designated hitter Grant Dozar singled to easily score Landry to put LSU on the board. Ray would pitch around a wild pitch and another walk in the inning to keep the Auburn advantage at 4-1.

That's how things would remain until the long ball came into play for Auburn in the fourth, but not before a huge defensive play by Auburn in the field. A Dozar leadoff double put LSU in great position against Ray, but he came back to get the next two hitters to bring Tyler Hanover to the plate. Ripping one down the third base line, Hanover was robbed as Gilmer made a diving grab, jumped to his feet, and tagged out Dozar on his way to third for the final out.

A Gilmer walk started the inning off in good fashion and a bunt from Justin Hargett moved him to second with the top of the order coming to the plate. A fly ball by Fradejas moved Gilmer to third to bring Mummey to the plate. Already with a pair of home runs this week including a grand slam in Friday night's game, Mummey got ahead in the count and Matulis grooved a pitch over the heart of the plate. Mummey didn't miss it as he drove it over the wall in right field for a two-run shot. The blast put Auburn up 6-1, but LSU would answer back in the sixth.

With one out Austin Nola singled off a tiring Ray and one out later a walk to Kyle Koeneman brought his day to a close after a terrific outing in relief. Facing leadoff man Mikie Mahtook, Hurst allowed a single to left to score a run, but quickly recovered to get Hanover to end the threat with Auburn still leading by four.

That lead would balloon to seven in the bottom of the sixth as the Tigers continued to put some solid swings together. A leadoff walk to Fradejas and a Mummey double to right field put two runners into scoring position with nobody out and 3-4-5 coming to the plate for Auburn. Fletcher continued his run production as his single to center field scored both runners to make it 8-2. Following a Morris single to right field that moved Fletcher to third, a Caldwell sacrifice fly capped off a three-run inning for the Tigers to make it 9-2 going to the seventh. Mummey said it was a big day for the offense and for him as he continues to get back into the swing of things.

"Last night we got down early and came back late," Mummey said. "If we didn't win we were trying to build some confidence for today. It definitely carried over…with such a long time off I was really worried about recognizing pitches. It has come back to me quicker than I thought it would. They stuck me in the two-hole this weekend and I was really surprised they would put me in such an important role. It gave me a lot of confidence knowing the coaches would do that and they have a lot of confidence in me."

Those runs proved to be important as LSU wouldn't go away and came back in the top of the eighth with two more runs before Hurst got a pair of ground balls to end the inning. Now leading 9-4, Auburn added two more in the bottom of the eighth as Fletcher singled and was plated moments later on a Morris triple to make it 10-4. A Caldwell sacrifice fly scored Morris moments later to make it a seven-run lead going to the ninth.

Again LSU didn't roll over thanks to some shaky defense by Auburn in the ninth inning. Going four games and eight innings without an error, the Tigers made three in the top of the ninth to end Hurst's day and put closer Austin Hubbard in some danger. An error following by a single and a walk loaded the bases for Hubbard when he came in. Following a groundout, the second error of the inning allowed two more runs to score and cut the lead back to four. If not for a great play by Fletcher things could have been ever hairier down the stretch. With one out and a runner on first, Koeneman doubled to left field. Sliding to make the grab and coming up throwing, Fletcher gunned down Dozar at third for the second out of the inning. Another error put runners on first and third, but Hubbard got Hanover swinging to end the game and even the series with LSU.

Auburn looks for its first series win against LSU at home since 1998 on Sunday as junior Grant Dayton takes the mound against Joey Bourgeois for the visiting Tigers. The first pitch is scheduled for 1 p.m.

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