HOOVER, Ala. - For the third straight year, Auburn won its SEC Tournament opener, beating Tennessee 5-3 Tuesday at the Hoover Met.
The Tigers will play Vanderbilt Wednesday at 4:30 p.m. CT.
Judd Ward homered and drove in three runs, and winning pitcher Bailey Horn struck out a season-high six in four innings, his longest outing of the season.
Horn retired 10 straight Volunteers from the sixth through the ninth innings, until Zach Daniels solo homer with one out in the ninth made it 5-3.
Cody Greenhill relieved Horn and after hitting a batter on his first pitch to bring the potential tying run to the plate, retired Christian Scott on a deep fly to right that Steven Williams caught on the warning track.
Greenhill then struck out Jay Charleston, earning his 10th save.
Ward's seventh-inning blast to right field scored Kason Howell, giving the Tigers a three-run cushion.
Ward gave the Tigers the lead two innings earlier with a bunt single
Tied at 2 in the fifth, Ward's one-out bunt single scored Edouard Julien from third while advancing Kason Howell to second.
A four-pitch walk to Ryan Bliss loaded the bases, but Tennessee's Garrett Stallings recorded back-to-back strikeouts to escape further damage.
Elliott Anderson started for Auburn struck out six in four innings, allowing two runs on three hits. Will Morrison relieved Anderson in the fifth with runners on the corners and no outs, retiring the only Volunteer he faced.
Bailey Horn followed, allowing an inherited runner to score from third but retiring the Vols with no further damage.
Horn struck out the side in the seventh, fanning two more in the eighth.
After Tennessee struck first for a run on a sacrifice fly in the top of the first, the Tigers answered with two in the bottom of the second.
Matt Scheffler started the rally with a single off the third baseman's glove, Rankin Woley followed with a walk. With the runners moving with two outs, Julien's blooper to shallow center plated Scheffler and Woley to put Auburn up 2-1.
Tennessee scored on Horn's wild pitch in the top of the fifth to make it 2-2.
Julien and Ward each had two hits for the Tigers. Auburn pitchers fanned 13 Vols.