Derek Varnadore struck out seven and didn't allow a run
in his second complete game shutout of the season and Auburn's first SEC
shutout of the year as the Auburn baseball team clinched its series with
Georgia with a 3-0 win on Saturday afternoon. The win improved Auburn's
record to 25-21, 11-12 SEC while Georgia fell to 24-23, 13-10 SEC.
"We continue to talk about the importance of someone on the mound and
certainly Derek Varnadore was the difference today. His performance was
outstanding. You saw two very good pitchers going toe-to-toe and we were
fortunate to scratch a few runs," Auburn Head Coach John Pawlowski said.
"Against a good team like Georgia there are not a lot of opportunities
to score runs so we had better pitch and we did that again today."
Varnadore (5-2), who shutout Radford in his second start at Auburn on
February 27, allowed just three Georgia base runners to reach second
base over the course of nine innings, scattering five hits and three
walks to earn his first win since April 9 at Kentucky.
"It helped a lot watching Jon Luke (Jacobs) pitch yesterday because I
literally tried to pitch just like he did," Varnadore said. "We pounded
the outside zone all game and didn't try to give them anything up and I
was able to do that."
"Derek was powerful today. He was throwing his fastball with authority
and he was spotting up and just blowing it by guys," Caldwell, the
Auburn catcher, said.
With Varnadore cruising on the mound, Auburn used two runs in the fourth
and an insurance run in the eighth to claim its second straight series
win over Georgia.
Wes Gilmer (2-for-4) drove in the game's first run with a RBI single and
then Kevin Patterson (0-for-3) lofted a sacrifice fly into foul
territory down the line in left to score Caldwell (2-for-4, 2B, RBI) for
the 2-0 advantage.
Caldwell, who has six hits, two doubles, three RBIs and three runs
scored in the two games this weekend, drove in the eighth-inning
insurance run as he battled Georgia reliever Chase Hawkins for 12
pitches, fouling off seven offerings before singling back up the middle
to score pinch runner Bobby Andrews.
"Tony Caldwell has a 12-pitch at bat to drive in an insurance run. That
was a big at bat for Tony," Pawlowski said.
Michael Palazzone (8-2) was handed just his second loss of the season as
he allowed the two fourth-innings runs while throwing seven innings,
allowing six hits and a walk and striking out seven.
Auburn's last shutout of an SEC opponent was May 15, 2010 when it
blanked Tennessee, 18-0, and its last shutout of Georgia was on March
26, 1995, a 2-0 win in Athens.
Auburn, which has now won back-to-back series over Georgia for the first
time since 2002-03, will try to grab its second straight sweep of and
its first home sweep over Georgia since 2000.