AUBURN, Ala. (EETV) -- Auburn traveled to Gainesville, Florida to take on the No. 2 Florida Gators, losing on Saturday and Sunday after taking an early lead in the series on Friday.
The Tigers took game one 10-1. All around, Auburn played a great game, and it started in the top of the first inning. Ike Irish hit his third home run of the season driving in Bobby Pierce. Auburn scored six runs in the top of the second to extend the lead to 8-0. Irish stayed hot and doubled in his second at-bat, driving in another pair of runs.
One of the best pitchers in the SEC, RHP Brandon Sproat, got the start for Florida, and the Tigers jumped him early. They handed Sproat his first loss of the season in an outing. He only pitched 1.1 innings, allowing eight earned runs.
Florida added their first, and only run of the ball game in the bottom of the fourth on a Michael Robertson single.
Bryson Ware added a single and a home run, extending his reached-base streak to 27 games and his hit streak to 10 games.
In game two, Florida’s bats came alive, totaling 19 hits on the night. Florida came out on top 12-5. Ike Irish added his fifth RBI of the series in the top of the first inning on a ground out to the right side, scoring Cole Foster.
The Gators responded in the bottom of the first inning with a Jac Calianone two-run bomb. It seemed like every time Auburn scored a run to narrow the lead, Florida responded in the bottom half of the inning.
“All three times we scored tonight, not only did they score the very next half-inning, but they scored more than we scored in the top half," coach Butch Thompson said after the game. "They answered us each and every time we scored and created defense.”
In the rubber match on Sunday, the Gators trampled the Tigers 17-8. Florida opened the scoring with three runs in the first inning. LHP Tommy Vail got the start and had a decent outing going 4.2 innings, allowing five runs, four earned, and striking out six.
Auburn would score the next eight runs of the game, including home runs from Cooper McMurray and Caden Green. The Tigers led 8-3 at one point, but that would be the high point of the afternoon for Auburn.
The Gators scored 14 unanswered runs against the Auburn bullpen to cap off their twelfth comeback win of the season. Luke Heyman hit a moonshot grand slam in the bottom of the eighth as an exclamation point on a big home series win for Florida.
The bullpen remains the weakness for Auburn, as Coach Thompson has said for a couple of weeks now. Drew Nelson, Konner Copeland, and Hayden Murphy all struggled throughout the series, unable to lock down a win for Auburn.
If Auburn is going to make some noise in SEC play this season, the bullpen has to pitch better and hold onto leads.
The Tigers will be back in action on Tuesday against the UAB Blazers in Birmingham at 6 p.m. SEC play continues next weekend when the Tigers return to Plainsman Park for a three-game series against Texas A&M.