JACKSONVILLE, Ala. – Trailing 8-0 headed to the top of the eighth inning, the Auburn baseball team hit three home runs in its biggest single scoring inning since the 2000 season, scoring 12 times as it came back to win 12-8 at Jacksonville State on Tuesday night.
The win, No. 500 in John Pawlowski's coaching career, improved Auburn's record to 28-19 while Jacksonville State fell to 27-22.
"This is a special, special night for us," Pawlowski said. "We were not a very good baseball team for a major part of the night but fortunately for us, the will to win and they just kept battling and grinding out at-bat after at-bat. What an inning. I am going to remember this for a long, long time."
Auburn sent 15 men to the plate in the eighth inning after collecting just six hits in the prior seven innings. Auburn tallied eight hits in the inning, six of which went for extra-bases. Garrett Cooper's RBI double scored Cullen Wacker with Auburn's first run of the game, igniting a previously dormant offense.
Three batters later Dan Glevenyak launched the first of his two three-run home runs in the inning, cutting the deficit in half, 8-4.
Following the third pitching change of the inning, Damek Tomscha connected for his third home run in as many games as the reigning SEC Player of the Week hit a two-run shot to cut the lead to two, 8-6. Wacker's two-run double, his second hit of the inning and his fourth of the night, tied the game at 8-8 and forced a fourth pitching change for Jacksonville State. The new pitcher,
Cody Ponder (3-2), would face just three batters, with Glevenyak ushering him out of the game with his second three-run blast of the inning and the 12-8 Auburn lead.
"I got more focused in the box and calmed myself down," Glevenyak said. "I had a nine-pitch at bat, I fouled pitches off, and then I got a good pitch to hit and put a simple swing on it and it went out." "That was an unbelievable inning. We were trying to get people motivated, get people excited in the dugout. The next thing you know we get a couple of base hits and the whole momentum and mindset in our dugout changed," Pawlowski said.
"This game is clearly about momentum and that inning we were clearly as good as we have been in a long time." The 12 runs were the most scored in a single inning by Auburn since it scored 14 in the first inning of a 19-2 win over Mercer on April 4, 2000.
Reliever Matt Schultz (1-0) was the beneficiary of all the runs, earning his first career win for Auburn. Coty Blanchard missed a grand slam by just a few inches in the third but it didn't matter as his two-run double preceded a two-run single by Paschal Petrongolo as Jacksonville State took a 4-0 lead in the third off of Auburn starter Dillon Ortman, who had allowed a single and then walked the bases loaded.
Ortman would leave after the Petrongolo single having allowed four runs on three hits and four walks in 2 1/3 innings. Jacksonville State increased the lead to 6-0 off of Chase Williamson, scoring single runs in the fourth and fifth innings, the second coming on a Petrongolo two-out, RBI double.
The lead ballooned to eight in the bottom of the seventh on a Eddie Mora-Loera two-run single off of Schultz, setting the stage for Auburn's 19th, and biggest, come-from-behind win of the season.
Cullen Wacker finished with four of Auburn's season-high-tying 14 hits, his 12th multi-hit game of the year and the third four-hit game of his career.
The six RBI by Glevenyak, who had just one career home run at Auburn, were a career high and the most by an Auburn player since Tony Caldwell drove in seven at Kentucky on April 9, 2011. Auburn returns home for a Wednesday game against Samford.