Auburn improves to 26-13 overall and 9-7 in league play with the win, a win that coach John Pawlowski said had everything he's looking for on a Friday night.
"We did some good things tonight," Pawlowski said. "I'm really proud of the job that Cory Luckie did. He got us into the sixth inning and that kind of set the tone for us. We needed somebody to step up on a Friday night and he did exactly what we needed him to do, get deep in the game to give ourselves a chance for the offense to get going. We played a solid defensive game and I thought that was one of the keys too."
Luckie was the key to Auburn's first Friday night win in over a month, allowing four runs on six hits in five and two/thirds innings. Earning his fifth win of the year, Luckie said while he wasn't as sharp as last week, he did enough because of the offense his team provided him.
"I felt good, but it was kind of a jeckyl and hyde game," Luckie said. "I felt good some hitters and some hitters I couldn't get the ball down. It was another night when the offense did really well. That makes you a little more comfortable on the mound. I wanted to get that last out in the inning, but I couldn't get the ball down. That's how it went tonight."
Offensively the Tigers pounded out 12 hits with Mummey leading the pack with his three, including his sixth home run of the season. Raising his batting average to an even .400 on the night, the junior said he's just seeing the ball well right now. That is evidenced by the fact that he extended his hitting streak to 10 games on Friday, all 10 games since he's been back from injury.
"Every day I start seeing the ball a little better," Mummey said. "I worked so hard in the offseason. That seven week layoff carried over. Working hard in the offseason has really helped out. I'm seeing the ball great."
Auburn wasted little time getting the offense rolling Friday night as Justin Fradejas and Mummey singled to open the bottom of the first to put runners on first and third with nobody out. Following a pop up, Hunter Morris ripped a triple to center field just off the glove of Keenan Wiley. The hit scored two runners and left Morris in scoring position. Catcher Tony Caldwell then did his job with a fly ball to right field to make it 3-0 Auburn after one inning.
The Wildcats got two runs back in the second inning off Luckie thanks to a couple of very hard hit balls. With one out Lance Ray just missed a homer to right field and cruised into second base for a double. Then Braden Kapetyn put Kentucky on the scoreboard with a homer just to the right of the batter's eye in center field. The blast cut Auburn's lead down to one, but the Tigers would get that back quickly.
In the bottom of the second Auburn got one back on a Justin Hargett sacrifice fly that scored Casey McElroy from third base. With the lead back to two, the Tigers would open things up in the bottom of the third. Leading things off, Brian Fletcher singled to center field and moved to second on a balk. A walk to Morris and Caldwell getting hit by a pitch loaded the bases with nobody out.
Auburn then did a good job of playing small ball to score two runs. First Crede Simpson lifted a fly ball to left field that easily scored Morris to make it 5-2 Tigers. Following a double steal to move both runners into scoring position, a ground ball by McElroy scored Caldwell to give Auburn a 6-2 advantage going to the fourth.
The two teams would trade runs with Auburn added another run in the fourth before Kentucky answered back with a single run in the fifth. In the sixth the Wildcats would do even more damage to knock Luckie from the game. Getting the first two hitters in the top of the sixth, Luckie looked to be in good shape but a Gunner Glad double off the wall in right field and a Ray double to right field made it 7-4 and the call to Hurst was made. An infield single followed by a walk to load the bases was it for Hurst as Hubbard made an early appearance out of the Auburn bullpen. Facing Marcus Nidiffer with the bases loaded and nursing a three-run lead, Hubbard got the strikeout to end the threat and keep the Tigers in front 7-4.
With some momentum coming to the plate, Auburn struck for a pair of runs in the bottom of the sixth. Wes Gilmer led off with a single and looked to be out as a Hargett ground ball to the second baseman set the table for a potential double play. Instead the shortstop dropped the ball allowing both runners to be safe. Seeing no one covering third base, Gilmer broke for third however a Kentucky player made it to the bag before him. The throw however went off his glove and into left field. The second error allowed him to score and moved Hargett to second where he would later score on a Fradejas single.
Now with a 9-4 lead, Hubbard allowed a single run in the seventh before his offense would break things open for good thanks to the long ball. With one out in the inning Caldwell and pinch hitter Kevin Patterson hit back to back home runs to make it 11-5. For Patterson it was his 10th home run of the season with eight of them solo shots. Following a McElroy double and another walk to Gilmer, Fradejas and Hargett drove home two more to make it 13-5. Kentucky scored a single run in the ninth, but that would be all as Hubbard finished things off for his fourth save of the season.
"The way I try to look at it, it's the same as if I came on in the ninth," Hubbard said. "I'm going to have guys on base in gritty situations. I'm going to throw the same pitches. It's just extended. I have to do it a couple of times instead of doing it just once. When I came in I think their catcher was at the plate. I threw him some sliders and luckily he swung at one after a couple were called for strikes."
Auburn will look to win the series from the Wildcats on Saturday. The game is scheduled to start at 11 a.m. because of the threat of severe weather expected in the area.