Posted: 12:43 a.m. Thursday, March 21, 2013
An Mobile's Hank Aaron Stadium, Auburn showed a ton of heart on a night when nothing was going the Tigers' way to pull out a 4-3, 11-inning, come-from-behind win against Southern Miss Wednesday.
Auburn defeated a top-80 RPI Golden Eagles squad and improved to 15-6 before this weekend's series against No. 3 LSU at Baton Rouge.
Apparently inspired by the Miami Heat's concurrent roll-over-and-play-dead-then-kick-ass approach, the Tigers put up three hits and hit or struck out into three double plays over the opening seven innings, then won thanks to late substitute Kody Ortman's single to left that scored Garrett Cooper.
The Golden Eagles (8-12) started Jake Drehoff who was 0-3 with a near 7,00 ERA against Auburn's Trey Cochran-Gill, making his first start this season. Drehoff had lost to Missouri State, La-Lafayette and Central Arkansas (1/3 IP, 6 ER) this season, but he came out sharp early against the Tigers, keeping his side on top for most of the game.
USM used one of two early errors to score an unearned run in the third and tripled the lead in the top of the eighth off reliever Terrance Dedrick, but Auburn came alive in the bottom half of the inning. Damek Tomscha reached on an error by Golden Eagles left fielder Michael Sterling, Dan Glevenyak was hit by a pitch and pinch-hitter J.D. Crowe walked to load the bases with two outs for McGill-Toolen grad Cullen Wacker. Wacker picked up the inning's first hit, and it was a huge one. A bases-clearing double to right center on the first pitch of the at-bat against reliever Bradley Roney tied the game.
After letting a run score on a wild pitch and giving up a single, Conner Kendrick threw 3 1/3 perfect innings, allowing Auburn time to work out the remaining kinks at the plate as the game turned over into extra innings. In the bottom of the 11th, Cooper drew a leadoff walk, Patrick Savage was intentionally walked, Tomscha fouled out and Ortman, in his first plate appearance after replacing pinch-runner Mitchell Self, delivered the big hit to left that plated Cooper and sent Auburn to its second win in just over 24 hours.
The Tigers will look to stun the Bayou Bengals on the road this weekend in what will be another big test for the side's hitters and pitchers alike.