BIRMINGHAM, Ala. - No. 12 Auburn outscored UAB by 12 runs in the final five innings to complete a four-run comeback and down the Blazers 13-5 Tuesday night at Regions Field.
Trailing 4-0 heading into the top of the fifth, the Auburn offense exploded for eight runs on five hits, including a grand slam off the bat of Conor Davis, to storm back from a four-run deficit.
Three Tigers collected two or more hits, including a season-high three hits from Ryan Bliss. Davis drove in a season-high four runs and was joined by Rankin Woley and Edouard Julien with multi-RBI efforts.
"The eight-run inning was huge," head coach Butch Thompson. "Our offense showed up, and the guys stayed steady. Rankin Woley, we've been talking to him about two-strike adjustment, and he just battled. He dropped a two-strike hit in to extend the inning, and then Conor Davis had the big blow after we got the first four in. All in all, the offense was great."
Auburn improved to 19-2 with the win, which was its 14th straight. The 14-game winning streak is tied for the fifth longest streak in program history. It also marked the Tigers second straight comeback of four or more runs against UAB at Regions Field after last year's team responded from an 8-3 deficit to win 11-8.
After scratching three runs on a RBI fielder's choice from Matt Scheffler, RBI single from Will Holland and wild pitch, Woley drove in the tying run on a RBI single to shallow right field. Julien then drew a walk to load the bases, and Davis cleared them with the team's first grand slam of the season. It was Davis' third home run of the year, marking a new career high in the category. Ten straight Tigers reached in the frame, and the eight runs scored were the most in an inning this season.
"We were just trying to string together some at-bats, get some more baserunners on," Davis said. "We were a little bit out of our swings early on, but in the fifth inning, Rankin had a big two-strike hit and that really kind of kick started us. Our approach at the plate and how we were handling ourselves changed."
Prior to the eight-run inning, Bailey Horn entered the game with two on and nobody out and retired three straight batters to escape the inning unscathed and keep the Tigers within striking distance. Horn (1-0, 8.59) didn't allow a hit and struck out a pair of batters in 3.0 scoreless innings en route to earning his first win in an Auburn uniform.
"It looked like some of his stuff returned," Thompson said of Horn. "He got a big strikeout as soon as he got into the game. He came in ready to pitch. We were down 4-0 with runners on second and third. If they score there, it gets tougher. They had an opportunity to really hang it on us, and Bailey Horn was the reason we got out of it."
Following the big inning, the Tigers extended the advantage the following frame when Julien drove in a pair on a double off the fence in right-center field. It was Julien's third straight game with multiple RBI. Bliss then drove in the Auburn third baseman with a RBI single to right field to make it an 11-4 game.
Auburn and UAB traded runs on a pair of sacrifice flies in the seventh inning before the Tigers capped off scoring in the contest with a RBI groundout from Judd Ward in the eighth.
Helena, Alabama, native Richard Fitts was the first out to the bullpen for the Tigers and turned in 1.1 scoreless innings with two walks and two strikeouts. Cullman, Alabama, native Will Morrison threw 2.0 innings and allowed one run on two hits with a strikeout. Peyton Glavine made his second appearance in as many games and struck out a pair of batters in a perfect ninth to end the game.
Auburn continues SEC play with a three-game series at No. 4 Mississippi State (19-2, 2-1 SEC) in Starkville this weekend. The series opener is scheduled for Friday at 6 p.m. CT.