June 4, 2010

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CBI Live
Auburn outscores Jacksonville State

By Nick Van Der Linden

Special to CollegeBaseballInsider.com


The Auburn Tigers opened their regional play in style, defeating the Jacksonville State University Gamecocks 9-7 Friday night in front of a sold-out Plainsman Park. The win puts the Tigers in the winner's bracket along with Clemson, who defeated Southern Miss 10-1 earlier in the day.


"It's always disappointing when you lose," said JSU head coach Jim Case. "At the same time I am proud of our guys, they battled hard. When we fell behind we came back and took the lead."


The Gamecocks got off to a strong start and were able to keep the Tigers off the board for three innings. Auburn adjusted and was able to get things going in the fourth with a bunt base hit from junior Justin Fradejas (2  for 4, 3 R, 2 RBI).


"We were struggling in the first three innings and had to get something going there," Fradejas said. "I was looking to get on base, and I got a good bunt down. Thankfully, that sparked a little rally and got us going offensively."


Junior Trent Mummy (1 for 4, R, RBI) followed with a double to left center field, scoring Fradejas from first to tie the game 1-1. Fradejas once again proved crucial as he hit a two-run home run in the fifth to help Auburn regain the lead.


"The difference in the game was that we couldn't find a way to put up zeros at any point in the game," Case said. "They were scoring every inning, we had trouble keeping the ball in the ballpark, misplayed the bunt and therefore we gave up a couple of runs."


Senior Bert Smith went 2 for 4 for the Gamecocks, extending his career hits total to 322 while also improving on his JSU and Ohio Valley Conference record.


Jacksonville State's Todd Cunningham went 3 for 5 with a home run and four RBI to help lead the Gamecock offense.


"We're here to win, not just to play," Cunningham said. "Unfortunately, that didn't happen, but some good things did happen. We swung the bats well, played good defense and we gave ourselves a chance to win at the end."


Auburn would take the lead for good when sophomore Dan Gamache (1 for 3 2 RBI) hit his 8th home run in the bottom of the sixth to give the Tigers the 6-5 lead.


"Coming back to win that game was a great confidence booster," Gamache said. "We were able to collect some big hits and pull out this victory."


Freshman pitcher Slade Smith (4-0) got the win after entering in the fifth with a man on second and two down. Smith pitched the next 2 1/3 innings allowing only two runs and a walk before giving way to senior closer Austin Hubbard.


"It was very emotional because it was a big win," Hubbard said. "It was hot, there was a huge crowd, and it was back-and-forth all game which made the atmosphere that much bigger. It was a huge win, and we are all pumped to get that victory."


Auburn head coach John Pawlowski, who said he watched "about half" of the Clemson game, knows his team is up for another challenge.


"It's about tough challenges, tough teams, and that's what we've got on our hands tomorrow," Pawlowski said.


Auburn and Clemson play at 6 p.m. C.T. Saturday following the Jacksonville State and Southern Miss game at 2 p.m. C.T.