Not even a nine-run deficit was too much to stop the
Southeastern Conference's top offensive club as No. 19 Auburn claimed a
16-14 come-from-behind win over Mississippi State on Saturday afternoon
at Plainsman Park. Auburn trailed 9-0 after the top of the second but
used a school-record seven home runs to claim a third straight SEC
series win and inch one step closer to the school's first SEC Tournament
berth since 2003.
"I don't even know where to start. The biggest thing is the perseverance
of this club. We were down 9-0, the first three (AU hitters) struck out
and we had absolutely nothing going in the dugout," Auburn Head Coach
John Pawlowski said. "The next thing you know, we keep chipping away and
we cut it to a run. The guys found a way to win today and that is a win
that can only help boost your confidence as we try to attain our goals."
Dan Gamache (3-for-3, 3 R, 3 RBI) hit two home runs and was joined by
teammates Brian Fletcher (2-for-5, 2B, 4 RBI), Hunter Morris (3-for-5,
2B, 2 RBI), Kevin Patterson (2-for-3, 2 RBI), Casey McElroy (2-for-5,
2B, 2 RBI, 3R) and Ryan Jenkins (2-for-4, 3 RBI) in taking home run
"We just try and get pitches to hit. We got a lot of pitches up today
and we just drove them out of the park, with a little help from the
wind," Gamache said. "(The four-home run inning) was a lot of fun. We
knew we could do it. We just went up there with that kind of
determination to get those runs back."
The seven home runs upped the school total to 90, 12 shy of the school
record set last year and helped Auburn improve to 32-15, 14-9 SEC.
"I told the guys in the dugout that this was going to be the greatest
comeback that we have had this year," Pawlowski said. "Whether the guys
believed it or not, they found a way. I knew that if we could get it to
within striking distance, the way the wind was blowing and the way the
guys were swinging the bat, I felt like we always had a chance."
Mississippi State, which had home runs off of the bats of Luke Adkins
(3-for-6, 2 HR), Connor Powers (2-for-4, 3 R) and Sam Frost (1-for-4),
fell to 20-27, 5-18 SEC.
Mississippi State jumped all over Auburn starter Slade Smith, scoring
seven times in an inning-plus before he gave way to Zach Blatt. State
scored five times in the first and then four times in the second, which
included home runs by Adkins and Snead, before Auburn had recorded a
Jenkins changed that when he belted his fifth home run of the season, a
three-run shot to left after McElroy had doubled and McElroy had walked
to make it 9-3 in the bottom of the second.
Mississippi State tacked on another run in the third on Adkins' second
home run of the game only to give it right back when Patterson singled
home Trent Mummey (1-for-3, 3 R) to make it 10-4.
Both teams went three up, three down in the fourth before Mississippi
State extended its lead to 11-4 on Nick Vickerson's RBI double in the
top of the fifth.
That's when the fireworks started as Auburn homered four times in the
bottom of the fifth, which included back-to-back-to-back home runs from
Fletcher, Morris and Patterson. The first of Gamache's two home runs
capped the scoring in the inning as Auburn narrowed the margin to 11-10.
"Game in and game out, that just shows you that no one is going to give
up and everyone is going to do their best to get us back in the game,"
Fletcher said of Auburn's four-homer fifth. "All of the position guys,
we have a lot of confidence in ourselves. Being down 9-0 in the second,
we know what we are capable of doing. We don't get down, we just battle
every inning. The coaches tell us to keep scraping, get one run at a
time and eventually we will get back in the game."
Mississippi State went back up by two with a run in the sixth on Powers'
home run and then took a 13-10 lead on Vickerson's RBI single in the top
of the seventh. Powers' RBI was the 200th of his career, surpassing Will
Clark for seventh on the Mississippi State all-time list.
Once again Auburn answered with a six-run inning following the
seventh-inning stretch as McElroy and Gamache went back-to-back in the
inning. Fletcher also delivered a key two-run double and came home when
Morris doubled to the wall in left-center, completing what ties the
biggest come-back in school history, matched only by a nine-run
come-from-behind victory over Virginia in February of 2003.
Bradley Hendrix earned the win to move to 2-2 while Devin Jones (2-3)
took the loss.
Austin Hubbard entered with a man on and none out in the ninth, allowing
the runner to score but nothing else to earn his sixth save of the
season and the 18th of his career.
The 11 combined home runs topped the SEC record of nine set by Kentucky
and Murray State in 1994.
Fletcher's home run was his 14th of the season and the 41st of his
career while Morris has now hit 17 on the season and 40 in his career.
Morris is now in the Auburn single-season home run top 10, tied with
three others for 10th. The school record is 22 done by Todd Faulkner in
Justin Fradejas was 0-for-6, snapping his 27 game hitting streak, which
is the second-longest in Auburn history.
Auburn will attempt to get its second SEC sweep of the season on Sunday
at 1pm when it sends Jr. LHP Grant Dayton (5-2, 4.86) to the hill while
Mississippi State has yet to announce its starter. The last time Auburn
was able to complete a sweep Mississippi State at Plainsman Park was in
April of 1985.