Baseball Falls to Auburn
LEXINGTON ? Auburn scored three times in the fourth inning and got a great pitching effort to hold off 20th-ranked Kentucky for a 5-1 victory on Saturday afternoon at Plainsman Park.
The Tigers knotted the series to set up a rubber match on Sunday at 2 p.m. ET. Kentucky (21-6, 5-3 Southeastern Conference) sends Greg Dombrowski (5-0, 1.21), the SEC leader in ERA, to the mound to try to clinch its third straight SEC series. Dombrowski earned a complete game victory last week at No. 12 Tennessee.
Auburn (13-17, 2-6 SEC) capitalized on a UK error to score three runs in the fourth. Jeff Boutwell and Mike Bianucci led off with consecutive singles and Jeff Donaldson loaded the bases when starting pitcher Craig Snipp mishandled his sacrifice bunt.
After a short fly out held the runners Ryan Stanley drove in one with a sacrifice fly. Luke Greinke followed with the big blow, a two-out, two-run single to make it 3-0.
Kentucky finally got on the board in the sixth despite not producing a hit. John Shelby and Billy Grace drew back-to-back walks with to leadoff the inning and took third on Justin Scutchfield?s sac bunt. Shelby was plated on Michael Bertram?s RBI groundout.
Auburn threatened in the seventh, but Ryan Wilkes made a tremendous defensive play to save a run. Tyler Johnstone tripled with one out and the Wildcats moved the infield in. Boutwell followed by smoking a grounder that Wilkes smothered to get the out. The Tigers ended up stranding two in the inning.
However, Wilkes couldn?t come up big at the plate in the eighth as he struck out with runners on the corners to end the inning. It was the Wildcats best chance to tie the game after falling behind.
Kentucky posted just three hits, its lowest total of the year, and had none from the third until the eighth when Billy Grace doubled. An out later, Michael Bertram walked to bring up Wilkes.
Despite not finding the holes in the defense, UK had base runners. The Wildcats stranded 11 in the game, including three in the first and at least one in every inning from the third to eighth.
The Tigers got a pair of insurance runs in the eighth, aided by a passed ball on a strikeout that would have been the second out of the frame. The mistake plated one and an infield single brought another home.
The loss spoiled another solid outing by Snipp, who worked eight innings. The southpaw gave up just one earned run, but was tagged for five overall on nine hits while striking out two and walking two. He lost for the first time this year to fall to 4-1.
Evan Crawford earned the win after tossing five shutout innings and allowing a pair of hits. He struck out five and walked six. Johnny Thompson picked up his second save by holding UK scoreless over the final two innings.