After providing game-winning rallies in the late innings of each of its first three midweek games of the season, Auburn delivered another on Tuesday night, and maybe its most improbable yet.
The Tigers overcame a five-run deficit at the end of the sixth inning to defeat UAB 11-8 at Regions Field in Birmingham, Alabama.
With the win, No. 20 Auburn (13-0) matches its 2001 team’s mark for the second-best start in program history.
While trailing 8-3, the rally began with third baseman Josh Anthony’s three-run home run to left center with two outs in the seventh inning. Shortstop Will Holland chipped in further with an RBI single in the eighth, before catcher Brett Wright made the swing of the game with a three-run shot to left to put Auburn in front 10-8.
“That looked like a long night for the Tigers,” head coach Butch Thompson said. “But the resiliency of our guys and Josh Anthony was a big spark and then Brett Wright, we had two big swings there late in the ballgame that brought us all the way back.”
Wright replaced freshman Steven Williams at catcher the previous inning and made his first plate appearance of the game when he hit it out of the ballpark. The junior college transfer regained the team lead for home runs on the season with three.
The Tigers totaled 11 hits in the game, including three by senior Jay Estes, who put together his best performance thus far in 2018.
Auburn’s pitchers struggled throughout most of the night, primarily due to their inability to find the strike zone. Five of the eight pitchers who saw action combined to allow seven free passes, and even standout Calvin Coker found trouble when he gave up two earned runs in two-thirds of an inning.
One pitcher who did not experience any difficulty was freshman Cody Greenhill, who quickly sealed another game for the Tigers when called upon. Greenhill pitched a perfect eighth and ninth inning to bring his ERA all the way down to 0.66 in over 13 innings of work this season.
“He’s done that at a high rate for us and I think this may have been one of his best outings tonight,” Thompson said.
Senior Corey Herndon (1-0) earned the win for Auburn with a scoreless seventh inning.
The Tigers remain one of five unbeaten teams in the country (Florida State, Louisville, Oregon State, Texas Tech) and the only one in the SEC. They will take the field next on Friday against Northeastern at 6 p.m. CT from Plainsman Park with Casey Mize expected to be on the mound to begin a three-game series.