AUBURN, Alabama (EETV) - No. 19 Auburn baseball (37-18, 16-13 SEC) falls to Kentucky (30-24, 12-18 SEC) in the series, 1-2, after splitting the doubleheader yesterday.
Auburn lost game one 1-5 to the Wildcats, with the one run coming from Kason Howell off a Garrett Farquhar RBI double.
Kentucky's pitching gave them the edge defensively they needed to pull out the win. The three Wildcat pitchers allowed only four hits and had 10 strikeouts.
Auburn was able to get back on track in game two with a 6-3 win.
Auburn's offense exploded in the third and fourth inning, scoring five runs and taking a 5-2 lead going into the fifth inning. Bobby Peirce led the charge, hitting two runs and three hits in his five at-bats, including a triple in the fourth inning to extend Auburn's lead. Sonny Dichiara had two runs after getting walked for this series's fifth and sixth time.
Trace Bright started on the mound for the Tigers and pitched five innings with five strikeouts and allowing two runs.
"A big thing for me is getting ahead," Bright said. "It's the thing I was focused on this week, getting ahead and out of that first inning."
Blake Burkhalter pitched the final two innings for Auburn and earned his 13th save of the season, an SEC-best.
Auburn fell in game three, 3-6, after holding a lead until the sixth inning.
The regular-season finale saw Kentucky's offense show off in the sixth just before the SEC Tournament starts. Scoring five runs in the inning after an hour and a half long weather delay.
“They came out and were ready to play and were hungry,” head coach Butch Thompson said of Kentucky after the delay. “They absolutely did more with two outs than we did today. Bobby and Sonny got a good couple of hits, but we need to work on our approach on the road.”
Before the delay, Auburn scored one run in the first inning after lead-off hitter Blake Rambusch singled, stole second, then was brought in to score on an RBI double from Brooks Carlson.
Dichiara hit a solo home run in the ninth, but it was not enough for the Tigers to spark a comeback.
Auburn holds the five seed in the SEC Tournament and will play 12-seed Kentucky again in the night game on Tuesday, May 24, at the Hoover Metropolitan Stadium in Birmingham, Ala.
“I could not stress anymore about trying to play a game up there with so many fans there and being so close to Auburn," Thompson said. "We need to put our best foot forward to win the first game and enter the double elimination portion of the tournament next week."