Auburn baseball drops series opener at Tennessee, 5-2

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. – The Auburn offense could muster just two runs on six
hits off of the Tennessee pitching staff, falling at Tennessee, 5-2, on
Thursday night in the first game of the final regular season series. The
loss drops Auburn's record to 28-26, 13-15 SEC while Tennessee improves
to 24-28, 6-22 SEC.

Tennessee jumped out on Auburn starter Jon Luke Jacobs (1-4) for three
runs in the first, taking advantage of three walks and two of the team's
13 hits on the night. The big blow was Drew Steckenrider's (1-for-4, 2
RBI) two-run double that scored a pair of runners that both reached on a

"We didn't have a good first inning and we got behind a little bit but
Jon Luke did a good job and gave us a chance to win. He kept the game
close but we just couldn't get anything going offensively for a little
while," Auburn Head Coach John Pawlowski said. "Give their pitcher
(Steven Gruver) some credit I thought he did a good job."

Auburn cut the deficit to a run, 3-2, with single runs in the fifth and
sixth innings as Creede Simpson (0-for-2, RBI) and Wes Gilmer (1-for-2,
RBI) each delivered sacrifice flies.

Tennessee regained its three-run advantage in the seventh when Davis
Morgan (2-for-3, 3 RBI) hit a two-out, two-run single off of Ethan

Gruver (5-7) handcuffed the Auburn offense for 7 1/3 innings, scattering
five hits and three walks while striking out seven and stranding five
Auburn base runners.

Auburn threatened in the ninth, loading the bases on a double from pinch
hitter Cullen Wacker and back-to-back one-out walks to pinch hitter Zach
Alvord and Justin Fradejas before Nick Williams got a strike out of Dan
Gamache (0-for-4) and a flyout to the warning track out of Casey McElroy
(2-for-5) to end the game and pick up his fourth save.

"Casey hit that ball in the gap and they ran it down. There is nothing
we could do. Our kids battled back. They have battled from adversity and
had some tough scenarios placed on them all year. We will come back and
try to win a ballgame tomorrow," Pawlowski said.

Tony Caldwell, who prior to the game was named one of the 13
semifinalists for the Johnny Bench Award as the nation's top collegiate
catcher, established the new school record for runners thrown out trying
to steal as he nailed Matt Duffy trying to steal third, the 58th man
Caldwell has thrown out in his career, passing former All-American Casey

Auburn will try to even the series on Friday at 5pm CT when it sends Jr.
RHP Derek Varnadore (5-2, 3.60) to the mound opposite Sr. RHP Nick
Blount (1-4, 5.52).

Tennessee 5, Auburn 2 (May 19, 2011 at Knoxville, TN)
Auburn.............. 000 011 000  -  2  6  0      (28-26, 13-15 SEC)
Tennessee........... 300 000 20X  -  5 13  1      (24-28, 6-22 SEC)
Win-Steven Gruver(5-7)  Save-Nick Williams(4)  Loss-Jon Luke Jacobs(1-4)
 T-2:41  A-1372

INFORMATION SOURCE: Auburn University Athletics