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Casey Mize (32) Auburn baseball vs BYU on Friday, March 2, 2018, in Auburn, Ala.
Casey Mize (32) Auburn baseball vs BYU on Friday, March 2, 2018, in Auburn, Ala. Photo by Wade Rackley/Auburn Athletics

Auburn baseball beats No. 1 ranked Florida

GAINESVILLE, Fla. (EETV)– Auburn scored two or more runs in five innings while freshmen Tanner Burns and Cody Greenhill combined for their third straight Southeastern Conference win as No. 19 Auburn defeated No. 1 Florida, 11-5, Friday night at McKethan Stadium.

The loss was just Florida’s fifth at home this season, and second in league play.

Auburn (31-13, 10-10 SEC) jumped out to a 3-0 lead behind a three-run home run from Edouard Julien in the top of the first inning and never looked back as the Tigers ultimately scored 11 runs on 15 hits. Friday’s game marked just the second time Florida (35-10, 15-5 SEC) had allowed double digit runs this season.

“It was a great bounce back,” head coach Butch Thompson said. “We played our hearts out last night in two of three phases – pitching and defense. Tonight, we played a great ballgame on the road against the No. 1 team in the country. Our offense was pretty relentless.”

All nine members of Auburn’s starting lineup recorded a hit for the third time since the start of last weekend, and the Tigers received three hits apiece from Brendan Venter and Josh Anthony as well as a pair of hits from Will Holland and Luke Jarvis.

After Burns pitched the first 4.0 innings of the game, Greenhill (3-1, 1.67) came on in relief of his freshman running mate and picked up his second SEC win after holding Florida to two runs in the final 5.0 innings of the game.

“Tanner Burns got only four innings, but he just competes, and I tip my hat to him,” Thompson said. “Ever since we got Cody Greenhill back, we feel like we have a shot. We feel like we have a sincere bolstering of our bullpen.”

In game two, it was Auburn that wasted no time in getting on the scoreboard as Steven Williams and Brett Wright turned on a pair of one-out singles down each foul line, and Julien drove them both in a three-run home run to left-center. The home run was Julien’s 10th of the season, making him the first freshman to hit double digit home runs in a season since 2008.

After Burns retired the first eight Florida batters he faced, the Gators cut the lead to one with back-to-back home runs from Nick Horvath and Deacon Liput in the bottom of the third.

Auburn quickly responded with two runs in its next at-bat, though, and the Tigers extended the lead with a pair of runs in both the fifth and sixth innings.

After Venter and Judd Ward started the top of the fourth with back-to-back singles, Anthony dropped down a nicely-placed sacrifice bunt to advance the runners. However, the throw to first got away and Venter scored from second. Williams was then intentionally walked to load the base with one out, and Wright lifted a sacrifice fly to left field to make it a 5-2 ballgame. It was Wright’s 14th RBI in the last eight games.

The Tigers added to their lead in the top of the fifth. With the bases loaded for the second straight inning, Holland delivered with a two-out, two-RBI single into left-center to extend the lead to 7-2.

Florida plated a run on an infield dribbler in the bottom of the fifth, but Wright ripped his second base knock of the night to start the top of the sixth, and Jarvis continued the Tigers offensive production as he hit a pitch out of the park just left of dead center field to make it 9-3.

Florida answered both runs in the home half of the sixth on a wild pitch and two-out RBI single, but Auburn was able to tack on a pair of big insurance runs on RBI doubles from Anthony and Holland in the top of the ninth.

Greenhill trotted back out for his fifth inning of work in the ninth, and the freshman right-hander finished the game as Williams brought back a home run ball off the bat off Jonathan India in right-center to end the game.

After combining to pitch all nine innings in each of the last two series clinchers against Mississippi State and Alabama, Burn and Greenhill combined to even up the series on the road against a top-ranked opponent. The freshmen duo struck out nine on the night.

The rubber match in the series in scheduled for tomorrow at 1 p.m. CT. Auburn will send left-hander Andrew Mitchell (0-0, 2.08) to the bump to oppose Florida freshman Jack Leftwich (3-1, 3.40).


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