UGA uses school record 16-run outburst to rout Auburn
AUBURN, Ala.----Powered by a school-record 16-run outburst, Georgia secured its first Southeastern Conference win by crushing Auburn 24-7 in eight innings due to the mercy rule Saturday in front of a sold-out Plainsman Park crowd of 4,096.
Georgia's 16 runs eclipsed the school mark of 13 accomplished three other times including in last year's NCAA Regional win over Hofstra in Chapel Hill, N.C. On Saturday, the Bulldogs led Auburn 8-7 before plating 16 runs in the eighth inning.
Georgia (15-9, 1-5 SEC) grabbed a 3-0 lead in the first. Graduate Ben Anderson led off with a double. With one out, Charlie Condon collected his league-leading 39th RBI on a run-scoring single. It extended his hitting streak to 23 games, five shy of the school mark set by Josh Hudson in 1999. Junior Parks Harber, who set a career-high with a five-hit and five RBI afternoon, followed Condon with a two-run blast. It was his ninth of the year and gave him a 12-game hitting streak.
Graduate Connor Tate (2-for-6, 2 home runs, 4 RBI) smacked his eighth home run of the season to start the third. Then, the Bulldogs loaded the bases with one out in the frame as Auburn starter Zach Crotchfelt was lifted for Christian Herberholz. Georgia managed to plate one more when Cole Wagner drew a walk to cap the scoring to give Georgia 5-0 advantage. Auburn cut it to 5-1 in the bottom of the third on a flare to right, scoring Bryson Ware who had reached on a two-out single and went to second on a hit-by-pitch to Ike Irish. Auburn threatened again in the fourth, pushing across a run on two hits before junior left-hander Liam Sullivan came back to record strikeouts of Cole Foster and Ware to maintain a 5-2 edge. Georgia answered in the top of the fifth as Harber led off with a double and scored on a one-out RBI-single by Will David. A two-run single by Mason LaPlante stretched Georgia's lead to 8-2 in the frame.
Auburn (16-7-1, 2-4 SEC) cut it to 8-5 in the fifth on a two-run double by pinch-hitter Cooper McMurray off Dalton Rhadans, and then in the sixth, Ware smashed a three-run home run, his 11th of the season, to pull the Tigers to within one at 8-7. Junior Collin Caldwell (1-0) provided 1.1 scoreless innings but with one on and one out in the seventh, Georgia looked to senior Nolan Crisp who kept it a one-run contest and ultimately picked up a save, tossing 1.2 scoreless innings. "We responded today, and we certainly needed that," said Georgia's Ike Cousins head baseball coach Scott Stricklin. "We were able to score some runs early again and build a lead but credit Auburn for making it a one-run game. However, we responded in a big way and hopefully now can build some momentum going into next week."
In the 16-run inning, Tate crushed a three-run home run while Harber had a three-run double. LaPlante and Murillo had two-run singles as the Bulldogs batted around twice with a total of 19 coming to the plate.