April 17, 2010

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CBI Live
Auburn batters Vanderbilt to even SEC series

By Jimmy Jones

Special to CollegeBaseballInsider.com

(photos by Jimmy Jones)


NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- It has been everything that a baseball fan could ask for with gorgeous weather, good pitching, outstanding defense and timely hitting providing the stimulus in a key series with the top pitching team and the No. 1 hitting team in the Southeastern Conference pitted against one another at Hawkins Field.
Hitting won the contest on Saturday as the Auburn Tigers (8-6, 24-12) lit up Vanderbilt starter Jack Armstrong (5-1) for eight runs (five earned) on seven hits and three walks. The sophomore right-hander was chased after 2.1 innings in the 12-2 loss.
"Jack was throwing a lot of first-pitch fastballs and they were in areas where they could be hit and Auburn is a good fastball hitting team," Vanderbilt coach Tim Corbin said. "I don't think he was giving them much to think about really, his breaking ball wasn't a factor."
Meanwhile, Tiger starter Cory Luckie (left), who came into the game with an 8.39 ERA, tossed a complete game five-hitter to tie the series to pick up his fourth win of the season against two losses. It was the first complete game for Auburn since Taylor Thompson accomplished the feat against Ole Miss in May of 2008.
Auburn left-fielder Brian Fletcher (pictured above) erupted for two home runs to account for four RBI and scored three runs to pace the offense. His three-run homer in the second extended the Tiger lead to 6-0 and the Commodores never really threatened to overcome the margin.
The home runs by Fletcher give him 12 for the season and he now has 39 for his career. He picked up his 44th RBI on the season.
"We came up with some big hits and put some pressure on them early in the game and defensively we were really solid," Auburn Head Coach John Pawlowski (right) said. "It starts with the guy on the mound.
"What a gutsy performance by Cory today. He issued two walks, he filled the zone up all day long and he kept the leadoff guys off all day long. That is just a solid performance when we really needed one."
Vanderbilt (7-7, 29-9) broke up the shutout bid in the fifth when Curt Casali walked and moved to third on a two-out double by Joe Loftus. Freshman Anthony Gomez (left) singled to plate Casali and Brian Harris added an infield single to plate Loftus to cut the advantage to 10-2.

The two teams will play the rubber game at 1 p.m. CT on Sunday in a game that will be televised live on ESPNU. Junior LHP Grant Dayton (4-1, 5.18) gets the ball for Auburn while junior RHP Taylor Hill (3-3, 3.51) will get the starting nod for Vanderbilt.