Auburn (19-22/7-9 SEC) parlayed a
seven-run second inning on Friday night into a 9-6 win over Florida (23-19/5-11 SEC) at McKethan Stadium. After the Tigers built an 8-0 lead, the
Gators narrowed the gap to 8-6 in the fourth before AU’s
pitchers responded with five scoreless innings to end a six-game losing streak
Sophomore Brett Butts (3-5) picked
up the win with a five-inning outing in which he gave up eight hits and six
runs, with three strikeouts and two walks. Freshman Luke Greinke
was 3-for-5 with two RBI and collected his team-leading fifth save for the
Tigers. Senior Bryan Ball (Punta Gorda,
Fla.) fell to 4-6 for the
hosts by lasting just 1.1 innings. UF sophomore
right-hander Bryan Augenstein (Sebastian,
2.69) will face Tiger rookie southpaw Evan Crawford (4-4, 3.86) in tomorrow's SEC-TV
Game of the Week that begins at 4 p.m.
“We put ourselves in position to be
right where we wanted to be tonight,” said head coach Pat McMahon. “I have to credit Auburn for their two-strike approach and
putting the ball in play. They swung the bat very well. I am proud of the way
we kept piecing it together and battling back. We put the tying run at the
plate in the end, but it’s hard to come back from an 8-0 deficit.”
Freshman Mike Bianucci
gave the Tigers a quick lead with an RBI double in the opening frame off Ball.
Senior Tyler Johnstone poked a leadoff single, stole
his team-leading 13th base with one down and scored on Bianucci’s
Auburn batted around in the second stanza
and plated seven runs on seven hits to build an 8-0 advantage. Greinke sliced a base-hit into right field to start things
off and classmate Justin Bristow came through on a hit-and-run to give the
visitors runners on the corners with one down. Sophomore Josh Stapleton drew a
walk to fill the sacks and Ball uncorked a wild pitch that allowed Greinke to score and the runners to advance. Johnstone cleared the bases with a two-run single for a 4-0
Tiger lead and senior Jeff Boutwell was hit by a
pitch. Bianucci connected on a single to load the
bases again and junior Andy Bennett roped a two-run double to the wall in right
for a 6-0 lead to chase Ball. Greinke laced a two-run
single with two down off sophomore Josh
Edmondson (LaGrange, Ga.) to put AU ahead by eight runs. Ball
was roughed up for seven hits and eight runs over 1.1 innings, his shortest
stint since working 1.1 at Auburn
The Gators got on the board in the
bottom of the frame on a two-out RBI single by sophomore Brandon McArthur (Seffner. Fla.). Junior David Cash (Odessa,
Fla.) singled into left with two down and
sophomore Bryson Barber (Pensacola, Fla.)
drew a walk from Butts before McArthur notched his 17th RBI.
Florida pulled within 8-4 in the third on a
throwing error with two down that allowed a couple of runs to come across and
an RBI single by Cash. Junior Brian Jeroloman (Wellington, Fla.) punched a one-out single but was forced at
second on junior Matt LaPorta’s (Port
fielder’s choice. A base-hit up the middle by junior Brian Leclerc (Clearwater, Fla.)
gave the Gators runners on the corners and junior Chris Petrie’s (Jacksonville,
Fla.) grounder was thrown
away, enabling both of his teammates to score. With Petrie aboard at third
courtesy of the miscue, Cash legged out an infield hit to bring UF with four
but was thrown out trying to occupy second.
Junior Gavin Dickey (Tallahassee,
Fla.) picked an opportune
time to extend his hitting streak to 11 games with a two-run blast into the
batting cage in right center to reduce Florida’s deficit to 8-6 in the fourth.
With McArthur aboard courtesy of one-out walk, Dickey pounded his 10th homer on
Butts’ initial offering with two out in the inning. It was the third-straight
game in which the outfielder had connected on a round-tripper. Sophomore
Russell Dixon led off the fifth with a solo homer to right for a 9-6 Tiger
UF squandered a chance to cut into Auburn’s lead after LaPorta and Leclerc had
back-to-back singles to begin the home portion of the fifth. Butts had Petrie
fly out to left and induced an inning-ending 1-6-3 double play by Cash.
Edmondson limited the Tigers to one
run over a career-high 4.2 innings and was replaced prior to the seventh by
junior Kris Gawriluk
Gawriluk tossed three scoreless frames, scattering
two hits, and registered two strikeouts to keep the Gators within striking
distance. Freshman Paul Burnside fired three perfect innings for Auburn in relief of Butts
before turning the game over to Greinke in the ninth.
The closer permitted a two-out single to senior Chris Woods (Gainesville, Fla.)
and walked Jeroloman before having LaPorta fly out to left to end the contest.
Auburn out-hit the Gators, 15-9, as six
different players turned in multiple-hit outings. In addition to Greinke’s three hits, Johnstone
(2-for-5, two RBI, two runs), Bianucci (2-for-5),
Bennett (2-for-5, two RBI), Donaldson (2-for-5) and Dixon (2-for-4) powered the Tigers’ offense.
Cash and Leclerc were each 2-for-4 to lead Florida.
- Of their six SEC series, the Gators have dropped
the opener five times.
- Each team left six runners on base.
- Florida fell to 16-11 at home after
going 32-11 at McKethan Stadium last season.
- The Gators did not commit an error for the
fourth time in five games.