Kentucky Falls 5-0 at No. 24 Auburn
March 17, 2002
AUBURN, Ala. -- Auburn sophomore right-hander Colby Paxton tossed a one-hit shutout as the University of Kentucky baseball team dropped the rubber game in its Southeastern Conference opening series, losing 5-0 to No. 24 Auburn in front of 2,815 at Plainsman Park Sunday afternoon. The Wildcats fall to 10-10, 1-2 in the SEC, while Auburn improves its record to 16-5 and 2-1 in conference play.
Auburn center fielder Javon Moran launched a leadoff home run off Kentucky starter Scott Wade to begin the game. It was Wade's fourth round-tripper allowed and the first time a UK pitcher has surrendered a first inning leadoff homer this season. The Tigers got to Wade again in the fourth when designated hitter Mike Mueller ripped a double down the left field line and scored on a sacrifice fly to left by Matt Grooms.
Sophomore right-hander Colby Paxton earned his sixth start for the Tigers and pitched four perfect innings, retiring UK's first 12 batters in a row until junior Gordon Tyler reached first on a errant throw by AU third baseman Jonathan Schuerholz. Center fielder Seth Morris executed a bunt down the third base line perfectly and beat Paxton's throw to first while Tyler advanced to third. With runners at first and third with one out, the Wildcats could not capitalize on their scoring opportunity, as catcher Spencer Preston popped up to second and third baseman Matt Fritts grounded out to short to end the Cats' scoring threat.
AU loaded the bases when Wade plunked catcher Bobby Huddleston after back-to-back singles to left by Moran and Tug Hulett in the fifth. The Tigers lit the scoreboard for two more runs when Mueller grounded to short but a throwing error by shortstop Russ Rutherford allowed Moran and Hulett to score, building Auburn's lead to 4-0.
Sophomore right-hander Cory Hahn replaced Wade on the mound in the bottom of the eighth and gave up a RBI double to right by Scott Schade, increasing UK's deficit to five runs. Wade, falling to 3-3, closed his line in the book with seven hits, four runs, three earned runs, two walks and one strikeout.
UK threatened again in the ninth when Rutherford walked right fielder Caleb Stewart walked, giving the Cats runners at first second with one down. Paxton completed the one-hit performance by forcing Gordon Tyler to fly to center and giving AU the series, 2-1.
Kentucky will next be in action on Tuesday, March 19 when it plays host to Tennessee Tech at Applebee's Park. First pitch between the Wildcats and Golden Eagles is scheduled for 3 p.m. ET.
Kentucky 000 000 000 -0 1 1 Auburn 100 120 01X -5 6 1 Win: Paxton (5-1) Loss: Wade (3-3) Time: 1:58 Attendance: 2,815