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AUBURN, AL - APRIL 07 - Auburn Catcher Ike Irish (18) during the game between the Auburn Tigers and the Tennessee Volunteers at Plainsman Park in Auburn, AL on Sunday, April 7, 2024. Photo by Grayson Belanger/Auburn Tigers

Kentucky holds lead in tight 6-5 Auburn loss

AUBURN, Ala (EETV) - Using an error to their advantage and capping the night with a home run, the Kentucky Wildcats (28-5, 12-2 SEC)out nudge the Auburn Tigers (18-15, 2-11 SEC) 6-5.

Auburn stays within striking distance but ultimately comes up short, thus continuing the struggles Auburn has endured throughout the season in SEC play.

"I think they (the team) got to walk through this one," said head coach Butch Thompson. "I think they're setup and things are there, and somebody's got to do a little bit more to make a pitch, or get a hit or make a play at game time."

After getting the first two outs with ease the Wildcats pounced on Auburn starter Dylan Watts (0-0) with four straight singles, giving them a two-run lead early in the ballgame. The Tigers showed fight immediately in the bottom of the inning with a leadoff double from Cooper Weiss. Cooper McMurray then shot a groundball up the middle, only to have Wildcat second basemen Emilien Pitre make a diving stop, securing the out at first and saving a run. Pitre got to showcase his defensive prowess throughout the night with five assists and two putouts.

Kentucky added two more runs to their lead in the third. Watts was pulled for Carson Meyers (2-3) after a leadoff double and hit batter. Meyers walked the first batter he faced loading the bases Shortly after, Auburn third basemen Gavin Miller made an error on a groundball allowing the two runs to score.

Watts' night ended going 2.1 innings allowing four runs, two earned, off five hits, one walk and a hit batter. Meyer's night went a touch longer, however, going 4.1 innings allowing two earned runs off five more hits and walking two with two punch-outs. Meyers is credited with the loss.

Auburn tied the game in the fourth, with a four-run inning. Auburn took advantage of Kentucky starter Trey Pooser's (3-0) rocky start in the inning. Pooser walked the first three batters he faced, making way for Deric Fabian's double to score two. After pulling Pooser for Cameron O'Brien (1-0), Cale Stricklin collected his first RBI's of the season with a single. Pooser allowed four earned runs off four hits, four walks and three strikeouts in his three innings of work.

Kentucky grabbed the lead again with two outs in the seventh off a two-run shot from Ryan Nicholson, his seventh of the year.

The Tigers called on Will Cannon in the seventh with two outs to minimize the damage. Cannon had the best showing of the night for the Tigers allowing no runs, no hits and no walks in his 2.1 innings.

Auburn put the game within a run in the eighth thanks to a pinch-hit single from Christian Hall, scoring Miller who leadoff with a double. Hall hit for Chris Stanfield who was 0-2 with a walk on the night. They would have another opportunity to score in the ninth after a leadoff single and then an error from the Wildcats put two runners on. Kentucky closer Johnny Hummel (2-0, 3 saves) would then strike out McMurray and get a groundball double play to third to end the game and give himself a save.

Auburn showed some flashy defense in the game, however, in the fifth when the Tigers put togehter a perfect 9-6-2 relay to gun a runner down at home plate, keeping the game tied at this point.

Auburn takes on the Wildcats for game two on April 12 at 6 pm CT.


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