BIRMINGHAM, Ala.-- Trailing 8-3 in the top of the seventh, Auburn used a pair of three-run home runs in the seventh and eighth innings to come from behind and defeat UAB, 11-8, Tuesday night at Regions Field. With the win, Auburn improved to 13-0 and matched its second-best start in program history.
Josh Anthony got the offensive output in final three innings of the game started with a two-out, three-run home run in the top of the seventh to cut the lead to two. An inning later and down by one, Brett Wright, who entered the game as a defensive replacement the inning prior, propelled the Tigers into the lead with a three-run homer of his own. It was Wright's team-best third home run of the season.
Freshman right-hander Cody Greenhill entered the game in the bottom of the eight and retired all six batters faced - three via strikeouts - to earn his team-best third save of the season. Senior Corey Herndon (1-0, 0.00) pitched an inning of relief and earned the win, while UAB hurler Ty Harris (0-1, 4.35) suffered the loss.
Auburn tacked on an insurance run courtesy of Jay Estes' second double of the night in the top of the ninth before Greenhill closed the door in the bottom half. The win was Auburn's fifth this season when trailing or tied in the eighth inning.
"We finally locked down the last four innings," head coach Butch Thompson said. "It looked like a long night for the Tigers, but the resiliency of our guys showed up. Josh Anthony was a big spark and Brett Wright matched him with a big swing to bring us all the way back."
UAB struck first as the Blazers scratched a run across on a sac fly to center field in the bottom of the first inning, but it didn't take Auburn long to respond as Josh Anthony and Jeremy Johnson reached on a walk and hit-by-pitch with one out in the top of the second. Anthony came in to score on a failed pickoff attempt, and Estes drove in Johnson on a groundout to give the Tigers the lead.
The Blazers reclaimed the lead with three runs in the bottom of the fourth. Carter Pharis hit a leadoff home run to left field and the next five UAB batters reached to take a 4-2 lead on a bases-loaded walk and RBI single.
The Tigers appeared as though they would tie the game the next inning when Conor Davis stepped to the plate with the bases loaded and one out. Davis hit a chopper back to the mound and the second out of the inning was recorded at the plate, but the throw to try to double off Davis at first sailed down the right-field line. However, Davis was ruled out on runner's interference and the inning ended with no runs across.
After UAB tacked on a pair of unearned runs to extend its lead in the fifth, the Tigers cut into the Blazers' lead as Estes hit a two-out double and came in to score on a RBI single from Edouard Julien in the top of the sixth. UAB answered back, though, with a two-run home run from Zack Davis in the bottom of the frame to make it an 8-3 ballgame.
The Auburn bats awakened in the top of the seventh to lead to the comeback win. With eight runs in the final three innings tonight, the Tigers have now outscored their opponents 37-6 in the final third of the game this season.
The bottom-third of the Auburn lineup led the way as Estes, Julien and Will Holland each turned in two or more hits and drove in a combined five runs. Anthony and Wright also drove in six runs with the aforementioned long balls.
Auburn host Northeastern in its final non-conference weekend series this Friday through Sunday. First pitch in the opener is scheduled for 6 p.m. CT followed by games two and three Saturday and Sunday at 1 p.m.