Tigers Rally For 6-5 Win Over Alabama State

Auburn scored two runs in the seventh inning to defeat Alabama State 6-5 and improve to 11-6 on the season.

Auburn, Ala.--Ryan Tella's solo home run tied the game in the top of the seventh and freshman pinch hitter Daniel Robert drove home fellow freshman Connor Short with two outs for the eventual game winner as Jay Wade and Trey Cochran-Gill combined for four scoreless innings to close out a 6-5 Auburn win over Alabama State on a cold Wednesday night at Plainsman Park. It was the fifth-straight win for the Tigers as they head into SEC play this weekend at home against Texas A&M.

Leading 4-2 in the fifth, Auburn (11-6) allowed three Alabama State runs in the inning before pulling ahead for good in the seventh. Wade was the pitching star of the night, pitching three perfect innings and throwing just 20 pitches in the process to pick up his second win of the season. Coach Sunny Golloway said he was impressed by the attitude of his team and their will win to against a tough Alabama State squad.

"We've kind of let them come into our yard and get the lead and they play loose when they get the lead," Golloway said of Alabama State. "That's why I thought Tella's home run was really big for us. Then the way that Jay Wade stabilized the game was huge. I didn't want to use Jay for three. He has been our best guy out of the pen and we need to save our bullets for the weekend, but he made quick work of them. That was huge for us."

Alabama State got on the board first in the fourth inning thanks to some shaky defense by the Tigers. Leading off the inning, right fielder Cesar Rivera's ground ball to Blake Austin at third was booted for the error to give the Hornets some life against Milliman. Following a stolen base, Rivera scored easily on a double from Richard Gonzalez to put Alabama State on the board. A wild pitch moved the runner to third and brought the Auburn infield on the grass with no outs. Getting a line drive to Dan Glevenyak at second for the first out, Milliman was unlucky as he got Emmanuel Marrero to pop up just behind shortstop. The only problem was that Damon Haecker was on the infield grass and couldn't make the play running away from the plate. Dropping in for a single, the hit scored Gonzalez for the 2-0 Alabama State lead.

Continuing his tear, Tomscha opened the bottom of the fourth with a blast to center field that bounced off the batter's eye for a solo home run. It was his fifth of the season and cut the Hornets' lead in half. Auburn was just getting started however as Jordan Ebert's one-out single set the table for Glevenyak and the senior delivered, stroking a double to left field to tie the game. With two outs Blake Logan continued to scoring with a single to score Glevenyak and put Auburn in front for the first time. After freshman J.J. Shaffer was hit by a pitch to load the bases, Damon Haecker singled for the fifth hit of the inning to make it 4-2 Tigers after four innings.

Shaffer was playing in the place of freshman Anfernee Grier, Auburn's fourth-leading hitter, who was out of the lineup because of an injury. Getting some offensive production starting with Tomscha was huge and now Golloway said they'll see what the doctors say about him before moving forward.

"He is running into some balls and we needed somebody in there to step up with some power," Golloway said of Tomscha. "We've still got some things to teach some guys here or there. We're a little concerned because we found out that Anfernee Grier, who has been in our leadoff spot, might have a hairline fracture in there. We kept him out of the lineup today and we'll re-evaluate that tomorrow. That was a pretty big blow to lose your leadoff hitter. Hopefully we'll get him back. We'll see. If it's something that can be injured more then we'll hold him out, but if it's not something that is going to get worse then he can just play through some pain with it."

In the fifth, Alabama State jumped back in front with three runs thanks to a pair of Auburn errors. With one out leadoff man Richard Amion homered to left field to pull the Hornets back to within one, but that was just the start of the trouble for the Tigers. Following a walk and a throwing error by Milliman to advance Rivera to second, Gonzalez singled to right field to put runners on the corners with one out. Robbie Clements came on in relief for the Tigers and immediately got a ground ball to Austin at third. The runner broke towards the plate and Austin threw to Blake Logan to cut him off, but the return throw to Austin bounced off his glove and into left field for an error. That allowed Rivera to score to tie the game. Following a strikeout, Clements uncorked a wild pitch to put the runners on second and third where a bunt single by Branden Castro scored Gonzalez to put Alabama State in front 5-4.

With Wade shutting down the Hornets in both the sixth and seventh, Auburn's was able to take the lead back for good in the bottom of the seventh. Leading off the inning, Tella got a pitch to drive and lifted it deep over the K Korner in right field for his first homer of the season. It was the first time this year that Auburn went deep twice in the same game. Following a Tomscha pop-up, Short walked and moved to second on a balk. With two outs Glevenyak was hit by a pitch from right-handed reliever Hunter McIntosh to bring Robert to the plate in a pinch hit role. The lefty calmly took an outside pitch the other way to drive in Short with the eventual game winner.

Wade pitched a scoreless eighth inning and Cochran-Gill closed things out in the ninth for his first save of the year as the Tigers evened the season series with Alabama State with a 6-5 win. The Tigers will take on Texas A&M this weekend in the SEC opener. Game times for the series are 6 p.m. on Friday, 3 p.m. on Saturday and 1 p.m. on Sunday.

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