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Photos by Colin Beyersdorf.

Late-game fireworks keeps Auburn from advancing in the SEC Tournament against Kentucky

Hoover, Ala. (EETV) - After being delayed from the last game on Tuesday night to the first game of Wednesday amounting to 15 hours of delay, Auburn was unable to complete the comeback win in the opening round of the SEC Tournament. 

Auburn fell to the Wildcats 1-3.

Starting on the mound for the Tigers was Carson Skipper. In his three innings played, he tossed seven strikeouts.

“Going into the game, that was kind of the job that we had discussed, for me to come out and open it up and then just pass the baton along and kind of it be a bullpen game.” said Skipper about his brief, productive stint in the game.

Kentucky got on the board first in the fourth inning with a single into left field from Ryan Ritter to bring Chase Estep in for the run.

Auburn looked to even the game up at the bottom of the fourth with a lead-off double from Bobby Peirce. The Tigers were unable to score though, leaving two on base. 

In the top of the sixth with two outs, Bright was taken out for RHP Carson Swilling, who quickly got the last out needed of the inning. Swilling exited the game just an inning later leaving Blake Burkhalter to clean up two on base with only one out. 

Burkhalter did exactly what he needed to and got out of the inning without giving up another run. 

In the top of the eighth, Kentucky was making a push to increase their lead with two on base and two outs when the Tigers threw out Kentucky’s Hunter Jump to keep the deficit at one and end the inning.

Things were looking grim for Auburn with two outs and no one on base in the eighth until Sonny DiChiara, Co-SEC Player of the Year, steps up to the plate and rocks one out of the park to tie the game 1-1. 

“Sonny absolutely had a big hit in the moment there,” said Head Coach Butch Thompson. “but if we had not have executed that, that would be more disappointing.”

Oraj Anu for Kentucky answered back with a homer of his own to lead-off the ninth inning and restore the Wildcats’ lead. On the next at-bat, Adam Fogel gets a hold of one and sees it over the left field fence to put Kentucky up 3-1. 

Brody Moore hit a lead-off single followed by Kason Howell being hit by a pitch to put the tying run on base, but three straight outs ended the game and the SEC Tournament for the Tigers. 

Auburn will get ready for and wait to see if they host an NCAA Regional next week.

“I know we're in a regional. I know we absolutely think we have done enough. I don't know if I'm here to make a case,” Thompson said about the upcoming week. “I think outside of Tennessee and Texas A&M, the last 30 ballgames we're third in that department.”