Posted: 11:33 p.m. Tuesday, May 7, 2013
Auburn rallied for an improbable 12 runs in the top of the eighth inning, rallying past Jacksonville State for a 12-8 win Tuesday night at Burgess-Snow Field. Shortstop Dan Glevenyak provided the biggest fireworks, hitting two three-run homers in the inning.
The radio told fans the Tigers looked about as lifeless as a team can look while still running out on the field and not being the Astros. Jacksonville State pitchers entered the game on a 61 1/3 inning homerless streak. The JSU bats had eight runs on nine hits and had beat up and chewed through five Auburn pitchers. It was 8-0 heading to the top of the eighth. But the side that won so many games after trailing all year and has clawed back into SEC tourney contention after starting 0-6 in SEC play was not done after seven.
Head coach John Pawlowski said after the game the team was so bad at the opening that they weren't just running foul poles, they'd be running home to Auburn. But then, his 500th-career win fell in his lap thanks to an unbelievable comeback.
Dillon Ortman started and was chased after 2 1/3 innings, walking four, giving up three hits and hitting a batter. Four runs scored off him, then two more scored before the end of the fifth, when Chase Williamson was pulled. Daniel Koger and Matt Schultz (1-0) each threw an inning, Schultz giving up two more runs in the seventh. But he was incredibly in position for the win as the Tiger offense was about to roar to life.
In the top of the eighth, Robby Lilly entered the game in relief for JSU and was greeted by Cullen Wacker with a leadoff single. Garrett Cooper continued to be Auburn's surest hitter and drove in Wacker with a double, then watched as pinch-hitter Patrick Savage walked. Grah Officer was the next bullpen arm for JSU, and he fared no better. His first batter, Glevenyak, took him deep to make the score 8-4. Jordan Ebert then doubled, once again lighting up the bullpen phone.
Cody Ponder (3-2), who eventually was tagged with the loss, got Ryan Tella to pop out before running into his own troubles. Damek Tomscha homered for the third time in three games to make it 8-6. After Blake Austin and Hunter Kelley reached on an error (one of Jax St.'s three tonight) and single, respectively, Wacker came up with another big hit, driving them both in on a double and sending another Gamecock pitcher to the dugout, this time with the game unbelievably tied at 8-8.
Another error put Cooper on and scored Wacker to give Auburn the lead, pinch-hitter J.D. Crowe walked, and up stepped homer-happy Yak. He mashed his second no-doubter of the inning and gave Auburn a four-run lead that reliever Trey Cochan-Gill would hold on to in the final two innings..
When Ty Pierce (one of three Pelham HS players for JSU -- Go Panthers) struck out to end the game, the park was a juxtaposition of jubilant Auburn fans and stunned red-clad Gamecock supporters.
With the win, Auburn moves to 28-19 and is heading home for a Wednesday night matchup with Samford, a rematch of an April game that Auburn won in Homewood, 6-2.
Following the Samford game, the Tigers will go to Gainesville for a three-game series against the Gators.