The story of the day was Mummey. After his two home run and seven RBI performance on Sunday, the junior came through again to help lead his team to the Sunday win to move to 35-17 overall and 17-10 in SEC play. Now 24 games into his season after an injured ankle kept him out of action early, Mummey has 13 home runs and 38 RBI and said right now he's seeing the ball pretty well.
"This is probably the best I've seen it," Mummey said. "When you go in for the first inning and go to slash (bunt) and hit a home run then things are going good for you. That was pretty interesting. I was just looking to put the ball in play and let something happen. I hit it pretty well I guess.
"When you're hot you're hot," he added. "This weekend was one of those weekends where I was seeing it well. I worked a lot in the cages this past week with coach Link (Jarrett). It paid off this weekend. We need a lot of people to step up to win the West and we've got a lot of upperclassmen doing their jobs to take part in wins."
With the Sunday win Auburn takes a one-game lead in the division over Arkansas after South Carolina finished off a sweep of the Razorbacks in Fayetteville. Alabama and Ole Miss were battling rain on Sunday in Tuscaloosa, leaving Auburn up in the air about the standings leaving the field, but coach John Pawlowski said no matter what happens his team has given itself a chance next weekend because of Sunday's win.
"You look at it and this team has gone through a lot," Pawlowski said. "We're just trying to find a way into the SEC Tournament. We've played well over an extended period of time and won some series. Now we have a chance to win the West and play for a championship. That's what it's all about. These kids came back today with another solid performance. Grant Dayton did what he's been doing and gave us a chance to win."
On the mound Dayton did just that as he scattered nine hits in six and two/thirds innings, allowing just two earned runs while striking out four. While he wasn't dominant as he's been in several of his past few outings, Dayton said he just trusted his defense and did his job.
"We had the opportunity to win the series and we did," Dayton said. "That's our main goal. We're trying to take one game at a time. This kept us in the race for first place in the West. We control our own destiny now and that's really exciting. This game was huge. All the way around we played great. We had some great defensive plays and I think that's what kept us in the game for sure."
Grant Dayton is now 6-1 in SEC play this season while the Tigers improve to 8-1 in the final game of a conference series this year.
Much like Saturday, the Tigers didn't waste any time getting their offense going thanks to the long ball. Leading off, Justin Fradejas reached on an infield single to bring Mummey to the plate. With a two-run homer in the first just one day ago, Mummey squared around to bunt on the first pitch but took it high. Tennessee starter Bryan Morgado figured that Mummey would do the same on pitch two when he again squared around, but Mummey pulled his bat back and launched a long home run to right field. The blast was his 12th of the season and gave Dayton an early 2-0 lead to work with.
In the second Morgado blew up quickly, setting the table for Auburn's offense to add to the lead. A leadoff walk to shortstop Casey McElroy followed by a sacrifice bunt from designated hitter Ryan Jenkins put a runner in scoring position for Dan Gamache. Struggling to find the strike zone, Morgado walked Gamache and then Justin Hargett to load the bases for the top of the order.
That was all for Morgado though as reliever Steve Crnkovich came on to face Fradejas. Getting a pitch to drive to the outfield, Fradejas did his job with a fly ball to right field to easily score McElroy and make it 3-0 Auburn. That brought Mummey to the plate and he continued his hot streak by blistering a single back up the middle to score Gamache and give his team a four-run cushion.
Tennessee finally got on the board in the fourth inning off Dayton thanks to a leadoff double from catcher Blake Forsythe into left-center field. Following a sacrifice fly to move him to third, a single by Ryan Duffey to center field scored Forsythe to make it 4-1 Tigers. Once again they would answer the Vols with Mummey at the center of it all.
Following a leadoff single by Jenkins, Gamache put down a bunt to try to move him to second base but UT first baseman Cody Hawn misplayed the ball and both runners were safe. A bloop single by Hargett followed to load the bases for the top of the order for the second time in three innings. Just like his previous at-bat, Fradejas lifted a fly ball to right field to score Jenkins for a 5-1 advantage.
Thinking he was catching Tennessee's infield asleep, Gamache broke for third with the ball back in the infield but was caught at third for out number two. It proved to be big as Mummey followed with his second home run of the day, this one to left field. His 13th of the season gave the Tigers a commanding 7-1 advantage through four innings.
The Vols got one back in the fifth, but it didn't take long for Auburn to get it back and more in the bottom of the inning. Leading off, Morris lined a homer just inside the foul pole for his 19th blast of the season. His homer gave the Tigers an 8-2 advantage with still nobody out. Caldwell was hit by a pitch for the second time in the game to bring McElroy to the plate. Bouncing a ball just over Hawn's head at first base for a double, McElroy easily scored Caldwell but was thrown out trying to stretch it into a triple. Now up 9-2, Dayton went back out in the sixth looking to finish the Vols off.
He lasted until the seventh as he gave up a pair of singles before leaving the game with two outs and P.J. Polk coming to the plate. Already with a pair of hits off Dayton in the game, Pawlowski went with the percentages and brought on right-hander Zach Blatt to face Polk protecting a seven-run lead. Getting a ground ball to end the inning, Blatt pitched two scoreless innings to end the game and seal the series win for the Tigers.
They may not have been scoreless if not for one of the best plays of the season in the eighth, also by Mummey. Forsythe hit a ball deep into the gap in right-center. Racing full speed, Mummey laid out and made a diving catch to rob him of extra bases. The play got a standing ovation from the crowd of 2,781 at Plainsman Park.
Mummey's three hits were the bulk of a nine-hit attack for Auburn as Hargett was the only other player with multiple hits for the Tigers with two singles. For Tennessee Polk, Hawn and Duffy all had two hits.
Auburn returns to action Tuesday night at 6:30 p.m. when the Tigers face the Jacksonville State Gamecocks at Plainsman Park.