HOOVER, Alabama -- A trio of three-plus run innings proved to be enough as 5-seed Auburn takes down 12-seed Missouri, 10-4, in the win-or-go-home first-round game of the SEC Baseball Tournament at the Hoover Met.
Auburn's 10 runs are the most it has scored in an SEC Tournament since 1998, which is tied for the most Missouri has allowed in an SEC Tournament game. Auburn also recorded its ninth straight win against an SEC opponent, which is the most against SEC competition since April of 1995.
Cole Foster and Bryson Ware were the stars of the game offensively as they each recorded a homer and had three RBI.
The nightcap was off to a quiet start before Missouri's Hank Zeisler, who was walked to start the second inning, was sent home on a sacrifice fly from Jackson Lovich to get the first score on the board.
Auburn tied it an inning later after Auburn loaded up the bases with zero outs, and Missouri pitcher Javyn Pimental hit Foster with a pitch and then walked in the first run of what would be three for Auburn in the inning.
Mizzou took advantage of a sloppy inning by the Auburn defense in the top of the fourth. Bases were loaded with two outs and Tre Morris scored after Cam Chick, who nearly hit a grand slam, was walked. After throwing five strikeouts, Auburn starter Tommy Vail was replaced by Chase Isbell -- who walked a batter to score one more, giving Missouri a 4-3 lead.
Missouri also made a pitching change for Brock Lucas after Pimental's decent start. But Lucas wasn't enough to slow down the energy being generated by the Auburn offense in Alabama. Auburn quickly got two batters on base in the bottom of the fourth and Stanfield sent one of them home with a single. Foster came up in the ensuing at-bat and crushed a 416-foot homer to right field -- giving Auburn a 7-4 lead and forcing Lucas off the mound in favor of Rorik Maltrud.
Foster's dinger was his fifth in the past seven games after only hitting seven in his first 44 games.
The fifth, sixth and seventh innings were eventful when it came to base hits, but both teams failed to follow up the prior high-scoring stretch.
Foster started off the top of the eighth with a single and Peirce drilled a double to center that scored him. McMurray followed up with a double to left field, but a controversial moment came up as Peirce was thrown out at home. The play was reviewed and Peirce was called out. Ware then drilled a two-run shot to extend Auburn's lead, bringing the crowd to its feet.
HOW IT HAPPENED
T2 | Zeisler was walked to start the inning. Dalton Bargo flew out and Zeisler advanced to third. Lovich flew out on the ensuing play and Zeisler scored. Missouri 1, Auburn, 0.
B3 | LaRue singled to left center to start. Stanfield hit a double to right field. Foster was then hit by the pitch. Bobby Peirce was then walked, advancing Foster to second, Stanfield to third and scoring LaRue. Cooper McMurray grounded out and Stanfield scored. Auburn 3, Missouri 1.
T4 | Trevor Austin singled and then advanced to second on a fielding error. Zeisler grounded out and Zeisler advanced to third. Morris reached on a fielding error and Austin scored. Bargo singled to center field and Morris advanced to second. Garcia walked, Bargo advanced to second and Morris advanced to third. Chick was walked -- Garcia advanced to second, Bargo advanced to third and Morris scored. Chick advanced to second on a wild pitch, Garcia went to third and Bargo scored. Auburn 4, Missouri 4.
B4 | Kason Howell was hit by a pitch. Caden Green reached on a fielder's choice. LaRue was walked and Green advanced to second. Stanfield singled through the right side, LaRue advanced to third and Green scored. Foster homered to right field as he, Stanfield and LaRue scored. Auburn 7, Missouri 4.
B8 | Foster singled to right field. Peirce doubled to center field and Foster scored. McMurray doubled to left field and Peirce advanced to third, but was thrown out at home. Ware homered to left center for a two-run shot. Auburn 10, Missouri 4.
Auburn (33-19) advanced to the second round in a matchup against 4-seed Vanderbilt. First pitch is scheduled to start 30 minutes after completion of the 5:30 p.m. Alabama-Florida game in a contest that will be televised on SEC Network.
Missouri (30-23) will await the announcement for the 2023 NCAA Division I baseball tournament.