After building so much momentum last weekend with a sweep of Tennessee, the Tigers lost it all in one weekend on the road and Sunday's game was a microcosm of the entire weekend. Auburn's problems on Sunday were apparent both on the mound and at the plate as starter Trey Cochran-Gill allowed five runs on seven hits in two innings of work to take the loss.
Coach John Pawlowski said the bad start just stuck with his team the entire day and carried over to an offense that got the leadoff man on just one time in the game.
"We didn't get out of the gates very well," Pawlowski said. "In the second inning we made a mistake and they hit a big home run. I thought the battle was uphill from that point. We could just never get over that hurdle. It set us back on our heels certainly.
"The difference was we came to bat nine times today to lead off an inning and we got one guy on base," he added. "We got Bobby Andrews on base and he stole second and slid past the bag. They hit eight times and six times they had a guy on base. We've got to play better. We've got a great challenge ahead of us. It's not easy, but these guys understand the way we have to play in order to be successful."
Justin Bryant was the first guy out of the pen for the Tigers and he was solid, allowing just two hits in no runs in two innings. He also added a hit at the plate offensively in four at-bats. Slade Smith followed and allowed three runs on six hits in just two and two/thirds innings on the mound and Dillon Ortman finished things off for the Tigers, allowing a run on a hit in one and one/third innings.
At the plate the Tigers didn't have a hit with less than two outs until the sixth inning and that single was erased by a double play. For the game Auburn managed 11 hits, but seven of those came with two outs in the inning. Creede Simpson and Blake Austin led the way with two hits each for the Tigers.
Creede Simpson had two hits for the Tigers on Sunday
For Georgia Kyle Farmer again proved to be the big weapon as he was 3-5 including a three-run home run. Leadoff man Curt Powell also had three hits as the Bulldogs got 11 hits from the first five guys in the order on Sunday. Luke Crumley got the win for Georgia, allowing a run on six hits in five innings.
For the second consecutive Sunday it just wasn't the day for Cochran-Gill. Allowing a leadoff single to Powell before striking out Farmer, Hunter Cole singled as well to put a pair of runners on for the heart of the Georgia order. Getting Brett DeLoach on a groundout, Cochran-Gill looked like he would get out of the jam as he induced Justin Bryan into a slow roller to third. The Tigers' third baseman Zach Alvord was unable to get the ball out of his glove however and Powell scored to put the Bulldogs on the board.
Things went from bad to worse for the freshman in the second inning as Levi Hyams hit the first pitch back up the middle and off Cochran-Gill for a single. A Colby May double into the corner in right field quickly made it 2-0 Bulldogs, but they were just getting started. Following a Conor Welton groundout, Powell hit a high chopper to Garrett Cooper at first base, but Cochran-Gill was late getting over from the mound. That forced Cooper to have to race Powell to the bag and the Auburn junior came up just a step late.
With runners on first and third and one out that brought Farmer to the plate. Saturday's hero, Farmer got ahead in the count before Cochran-Gill fought back to make it a full count after Powell had advanced to second on a wild pitch. Even with first base open the Tigers didn't give in to Farmer and a hanging breaking ball was launched deep over the wall in left field for a three-run homer. The blast gave Georgia and Crumley a commanding 5-0 advantage.
Hitless in the first two innings and with two outs in the third, Auburn finally got something going with consecutive singles from Bobby Andrews and Ryan Tella to bring Simpson to the plate. Jumping on the first pitch, Simpson hit a deep fly ball to right field that Cole caught on the warning track to end the inning.
In the fourth Auburn again waited until there were two outs before going to work. Picking up where he left off, Bryant singled into the left field. Coming in and keeping Georgia at bay on the mound, the senior got the Tigers' offense started as Austin and Jay Gonzalez followed with singles as well to make it 5-1 Georgia. Alvord struck out to end the inning and keep the deficit at four.
Following another scoreless inning from Bryant on the mound, Auburn's offense got something different in the fifth as Andrews walked to lead off the inning. Off on the first pitch the sophomore stole second, but slid past the bag and was tagged out. One out later Simpson singled to left field and stole second to move into scoring position for Cooper, but a deep fly ball to center was tracked down by Powell to end the inning.
With Smith on in relief the Bulldogs added to their lead in the sixth as he walked Hyams to lead off the inning. Sending the runner kept Georgia out of a double play as May's ground ball to Simpson at second moved Hyams into scoring position. A walk to Welton brought Powell to the plate and Georgia's leading hitter came through again, this time with a single to center field. Hyams scored on the play to make it 6-1 Bulldogs. Smith got a double play to end the inning, but for Auburn the damage was done.
Two more runs in the bottom of the seventh brought Smith's day to a close as Ortman got the final out of the inning. Now trailing 8-1 Auburn had just six outs remaining to perform some magic or be swept by the Bulldogs.
Facing reliever Earl Daniels the Tigers chipped away at the lead as Simpson singled with one out and scored on a Cooper double to deep center field. A Dan Glevenyak single to center field followed to put runners on the corners and send Georgia to the bullpen for Pete Nagel. He caught Bryant looking for the second out of the inning before an Austin infield single scored Cooper to make it 8-3.
With a chance for more Jay Gonzalez was caught looking to end the inning with Auburn down five. The Bulldogs added an insurance run in the bottom of the eighth to make the final 9-3 and complete the sweep of Auburn.
The Tigers will return to action Tuesday night at home against Presbyterian before taking on the Arkansas Razorbacks on the road Thursday-Saturday.