AUBURN, Ala. – Casey McElroy's two-out, two-RBI double down the left field line tied the game and then Dan Gamache's double to left put Auburn ahead for good as the No. 23 Auburn baseball team rallied to defeat No. 7 Arizona State, 10-8, on Sunday afternoon at Plainsman Park.
"In college baseball, no game is ever over," Auburn Head Coach John Pawlowski said. "We have built some opportunities for big innings and finally we came through with some hits. Casey, Dan and Wes (Gilmer) really came up with some big hits."
McElroy, who extended his hitting streak to a career-best 11 games with a third-inning two-out single, finished the afternoon 3-for-5 with a double, three RBI and three runs scored.
"We knew the whole weekend was going to be a dogfight and we finally caught a couple of breaks today," McElroy said. "The first two games of the weekend were really emotional games and they were really draining.
It was back-and-forth. We'd score then they would come back and score.
It seemed like every potential big inning we had they would shut us down and we didn't get the breaks. It really felt nice to finally have that one inning where we got a couple of the breaks."
Gamache finished 3-for-5 with two doubles and four RBI, the second time in the series he drove in four runs, and he now leads the team with 17 RBI on the year.
Zach Blatt (1-1) kept Arizona State (11-3) off the board for the final two innings, sitting the Arizona State lineup down 1-2-3 in both the eighth and the ninth, striking out three, to earn his first win over the season.
"I needed that big-time for myself," Blatt said. "I have struggled a pretty good bit the last few outings and this was much needed. The biggest difference between this outing and my others was throwing strikes. Coach Pawlowski had confidence in that pitch (change-up), he told me I had to get that pitch going. He called it and I threw it and it got them off of me and enabled me to get ahead of their hitters."
Arizona State's Mitchell Lambson (3-2) took the loss as he surrendered all four runs in the eighth, allowing five hits in two innings of work.
Auburn (11-5) again jumped on top early, scoring two runs in the third on Gamaceh's two-out, bases-loaded single, only to see Arizona State score four times off of Derek Varnadore in the fourth, which included a three-run home run by Zach Wilson (1-for-3, 4 RBI).
Auburn got to within a run in the fifth, 4-3, on McElroy's RBI groundout and then took the lead in the sixth as Jay Gonzalez (2-for-3, BB, RBI, R) singled home Gilmer (2-for-4, BB, RBI) and pinch hitter Cullen Wacker lifted a sacrifice fly to center to score Kevin Patterson (0-for-4, BB, R) to put Auburn up, 5-4.
Arizona State regained the lead, 8-5, with a four-run seventh when Andy Workman (1-for-4, RBI, R) singled home Matt Newman, Zach MacPhee (2-for-5, 2 RBI) singled in two runs and Wilson hit a sacrifice fly.
Auburn got a run back in the bottom of the seventh on Gamache's RBI double to center to cut the lead to 8-6.
Auburn hits the road for its next game, playing Alabama in a non-conference game at Montgomery's Riverwalk Stadium in the third annual Capital City Classic. First pitch is schedule 7pm and the game will air live on CSS.