Posted: 9:50 p.m. Friday, April 5, 2013
After this whirlwind week in Auburnland, Rod Bramblett's voice over the radio waves was more than welcome, and a late three-run jack from Garrett Cooper sealed an important W for a side still fighting for their postseason lives.
Texas A&M; (19-12, 5-4 SEC) jumped out to an early lead on Auburn (18-12, 2-8 SEC), putting the Tigers in a familiar position. Come back, or struggle at the plate down the stretch in another SEC loss. The bats finally came around in the bottom of the seventh, but a crucial error by shortstop Dan Glevenyak allowed the go-ahead run to score for the Aggies.
Auburn starter Conner Kendrick continued in his new role as Auburn's Friday starter and pitched more than well enough for Auburn to win, particularly after a somewhat bumpy first. A&M; used a Mikey Reynolds leadoff single and sacrifice bunt to set up a man in scoring position for three-hole hitter Blake Allemand. Allemand singled him home and was part of a double steal before scoring on a groundout to second baseman Jordan Ebert. The bottom of the second opened with a triple from Brandon Wood, but he ended up being hung out to dry by a failed squeeze attempt, when Austin threw back to Kendrick to catch him stealing.
With Aggie pitcher Daniel Mengden cruising, the sides traded few barbs, mostly stranding runners after a single or two, sometimes swapping three-up, three-down frames. In the bottom of the sixth, A&M; began to look like they might blow the game open. Back-to-back singles were sandwiched by outs, leading to Wood's single into center that brought Cole Lankford around third but right into a lovely tag by Blake Austin, caught from a great throw by Ryan Tella.
The first two Tigers of the seventh were put down by Mengden, but then there was finally a string of luck and some solid contact. Jackson Burgreen singled and Blake Austin reached on an error by the shortstop, then both scored on Dan Glevenyak's two-run double to left center. Patrick Savage singled as a pinch hitter for Sam Gillikin, but the inning ended there as Yak was easily gunned down at home trying to score.
Reveille bit again in the bottom of the seventh when, after a single and sac bunt, fireman Terrance Kendrick couldn't strand his inherited runner. Krey Bratsen followed a strikeout with a single to short that Yak threw away instead pocketing, and the error plated pinchrunner J.B. Moss to put the Aggies ahead 3-2. Kendrick was pulled after 6 1/3 IP, allowing ten hits, one walk, three runs (two earned), and sitting down four on strikes.
Auburn had another fight in their bats still, and tied it again in the top of the eighth. Reliever Jason Jester gave up a single to Tella, who was bunted to second, and a single to Cullen Wacker to start the frame. Garrett Cooper continued to be Auburn's most trustworthy bat, though this time he drove in the key run by not taking the ball out of the infield. Cooper grounded into a fielder's choice but the tying run scored to make it 3-3.
Neither side did much more before extras came along. Auburn's tenth opened with Tella singling and stealing second. Wacker walked chasing the first pitcher of the tenth, and bringing Cooper back to the plate. Cooper took a ball before launching the next pitch over the fence in left and giving the Tigers a 6-3 lead.
Dedrick got in a bit of a mess in the bottom of the tenth, giving up a walk and single before a one out sac fly cut into the lead by a run. A pinch hitter in a lefty-righty matchup couldn't finish the job for A&M; and Dedrick (2-2) picked up the win.
The two sides play again tomorrow at 2pm. Righty Grayson Long (3-0) goes for Texas A&M; against Auburn southpaw Michael O'Neal (5-2).