Auburn rallies to defeat Clemson, forces deciding game to be played Monday


by - Senior Writer -
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AUBURN, AL – Auburn rallied for three runs in the top of the ninth and Clemson left the tying run at third in the bottom of the inning as Auburn forced a seventh and deciding game to be played on Monday, defeating Clemson 11-10 in NCAA Regional action at Plainsman Park Sunday afternoon.

Clemson (40-22) had rallied from an early deficit of 5-1 and taken leads of 8-5 and 9-8, but Auburn got a three-run homer from a reserve in the top of the ninth to nail the win. The teams will play at 7 p.m. EST Monday, with the winner advancing to the Super Regional to face the winner of the Georgia Tech regional.

“This one is over, we just have to be ready tomorrow,” Clemson head coach Jack Leggett said. “This is a tough loss, but at the same time we have another opportunity tomorrow. We have to be here ready to play the game. It was a see-saw game, back and forth, and we got seven runs in that one inning, but they did a good job of getting what they needed and they were standing at the end. We had our opportunities. We just have to be ready to play tomorrow.”

Auburn tallied two runs off of Lamb in the top of the first, but the Clemson bats were stymied until the bottom of the third. With two out in the inning, Mike Freeman reached on a throwing error by second baseman Justin Bryant, and Jeff Schaus followed that with a walk to bring up Kyle Parker. Parker lofted a high fly ball to left that Auburn’s Brian Fletcher lost in the sun, allowing Freeman to score, and Clemson trailed 2-1 after three innings.

By the time the bottom of the fifth rolled around, Auburn had added three more runs, chased two Clemson pitchers from the game and held a 5-1 lead, outhitting Clemson 10-3. But Addison Johnson led off the bottom of the inning by slapping a single into left field, and he moved to third base when Freeman knocked a solid single into right field.

Schaus singled in Johnson, and following a Parker fielder’s choice, Brad Miller doubled to right center to score both runners and trim the Auburn lead to 5-4. Auburn head coach John Pawlowski removed starter Slade Smith at that point, but John Hinson hammered reliever Justin Hubbard’s first pitch over the right field wall, his 14th homer of the season, for a 6-5 Clemson lead.

Richie Shaffer reached on an error by the shortstop, and with two outs catcher Spencer Kieboom drilled a double into the left-center field gap that scored Shaffer for a 7-5 Clemson lead. Johnson, who started the inning, picked up where he left off by lining a single to right to score Kieboom, who just beat the throw to the plate, the seven-run frame putting Clemson ahead 8-5.

A solo homer in the sixth and two runs in the seventh enabled Auburn to tie the score at 8-8, but further disaster was averted when Auburn had the bases loaded with two outs. Hitter Trent Mummey hit a dribbler up the third base line, but Hinson barehanded the ball and threw Mummey out at first to end the threat.


An interesting side note to the play was that Pawlowski removed Mummey after the out. Clemson pitcher Tomas Cruz had struggled with his control during the inning and even during warm ups, but Mummey swung at the first pitch for the out and was benched for the rest of the game.

Clemson answered with a run to go back ahead in the bottom of the inning following a leadoff walk by Boyd, who was sacrificed to second by Kieboom. Freeman then continued his outstanding regional by lining a double down the right field to score Boyd, putting Clemson back in front 9-8 after seven innings.

In the ninth, Auburn eventually had runners at first and third with two outs, and Leggett elected to leave Cruz in the game, and he faced Simpson in an interesting twist fate, who had replaced Mummey earlier. Simpson made Pawlowski look like a genius when he drilled a 1-2 slider over the wall in left for a three-run homer that put Auburn up 11-9.

Just before the home run, Clemson reliever Kevin Brady, who has pitched well lately, trotted out of the bullpen and onto the field, but Leggett waved him back and stuck with Cruz. Leggett said after the game, however, that the plan was to stick with Cruz all along.

“That was just a miscommunication,” Leggett said of Brady coming onto the field. “We were going to stick with Cruz the whole way. He had been throwing some good sliders – but that one just wasn’t as good.”

Clemson added a run in the bottom of the inning, and had the tying run at third with one out, but Johnson grounded out to first for the second out, and after Freeman walked, Schaus ended the game with a shallow fly ball.

Freeman, who has had an MVP-caliber regional, said Clemson just has to be ready to play on Monday.

“We battled the whole nine innings,” Freeman said. “This one just didn’t go our way. Now we just have to flush it and come out ready to play. We have done it before. We advanced on Monday last year, so we’ve done it before. It just takes one game, and that one game is tomorrow. We’ll be ready to play tomorrow.”

Leggett said the Clemson coaching staff will meet later on Sunday in order to decide who will pitch Monday.

 Auburn 11 (43-20)

Player                    AB  R  H RBI BB SO PO  A LOB
------------------------------------------------------
Trent Mummey cf..........  4  2  2  0   0  0  0  0   3
 Creede Simpson cf.......  1  1  1  3   0  0  1  0   0
Dan Gamache 3b...........  5  0  0  0   0  2  0  3   0
Brian Fletcher lf........  5  2  3  3   0  0  1  0   0
Hunter Morris 1b.........  5  2  3  1   0  0 10  0   1
Tony Caldwell c..........  5  0  1  0   0  3  5  1   1
Ryan Jenkins dh..........  2  0  0  0   0  0  0  0   0
 Kevin Patterson ph/dh...  3  1  2  1   0  0  0  0   0
Casey McElroy ss.........  4  0  1  0   0  0  3  3   1
Justin Bryant 2b.........  2  0  1  1   3  0  3  6   0
 Justin Hargett pr/2b....  0  1  0  0   0  0  2  0   0
Justin Fradejas rf.......  5  2  3  2   0  1  2  0   3
Slade Smith p............  0  0  0  0   0  0  0  0   0
 Austin Hubbard p........  0  0  0  0   0  0  0  1   0
Totals................... 41 11 17 11   3  6 27 14   9

Clemson 10 (40-22)

Player                    AB  R  H RBI BB SO PO  A LOB
------------------------------------------------------
Addison Johnson cf.......  6  1  2  1   0  1  2  0   0
Mike Freeman 2b..........  4  2  3  1   1  0  3  4   0
Jeff Schaus lf...........  5  0  1  1   1  0  3  0   5
Kyle Parker rf...........  5  1  2  1   0  1  0  0   1
Brad Miller ss...........  5  1  1  2   0  1  2  2   2
John Hinson 3b...........  5  1  3  2   0  0  2  1   0
Richie Shaffer 1b........  5  2  1  0   0  0 10  0   1
Wilson Boyd dh...........  3  1  1  0   2  1  0  0   1
Spencer Kieboom c........  3  1  1  1   0  1  5  3   1
Will Lamb p..............  0  0  0  0   0  0  0  2   0
 Jonathan Meyer p........  0  0  0  0   0  0  0  0   0
 David Haselden p........  0  0  0  0   0  0  0  0   0
 Tomas Cruz p............  0  0  0  0   0  0  0  0   0
Totals................... 41 10 15  9   4  5 27 12  11

Score by Innings                    R  H  E
-------------------------------------------
Auburn.............. 200 031 203 - 11 17  2
Clemson............. 001 070 101 - 10 15  0
-------------------------------------------

E - McELROY(22); BRYANT(4). DP - Clemson 2. LOB - Auburn 9; Clemson 11. 2B -
MUMMEY 2(15); FLETCHER(17); PATTERSON 2(6); FREEMAN(22); PARKER(15);
MILLER(18); KIEBOOM(3). HR - SIMPSON(5); FLETCHER(22); FRADEJAS(3);
HINSON(14). HBP - MUMMEY; McELROY; FREEMAN. SH - GAMACHE(5); KIEBOOM 2(2).
SB - JOHNSON(8). CS - MORRIS(2); PARKER(2).

Auburn                 IP  H  R ER BB SO AB BF
-----------------------------------------------
Slade Smith.........  4.1  7  5  4  2  2 21 23
Austin Hubbard......  4.2  8  5  3  2  3 20 25

Clemson                IP  H  R ER BB SO AB BF
-----------------------------------------------
Will Lamb...........  3.2  6  2  2  1  1 14 17
Jonathan Meyer......  1.0  4  3  3  0  2  7  7
David Haselden......  2.0  3  3  3  0  1  9  9
Tomas Cruz..........  2.1  4  3  3  2  2 11 14

Win - HUBBARD (6-2).  Loss - CRUZ (3-3).  Save - None.
WP - HUBBARD 2(11); LAMB(3); CRUZ(4). HBP - by LAMB (MUMMEY); by HUBBARD
(FREEMAN); by CRUZ (McELROY).
Umpires - HP: Randy Wetzel  1B: Steve Corvi  2B: Mike Schultz  3B: Randy Bruns
Start: 5:16 PM   Time: 3:08   Attendance: 3326

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