In a rainy series opener in Nashville, a combination of defensive miscues and an early deficit that was too much to overcome ultimately led to an Auburn loss on Thursday night. The Tigers fell to No. 4 Vanderbilt 12-6 in Game 1 of the three-game series.
The Commodores scored three runs in the bottom of the second. In the bottom of the third, Auburn starting pitcher Tanner Burns left the game after a visit with the trainers, complaining of discomfort in his throwing arm after pitching on the wet mound.
A 47-minute rain delay was declared, and tempers flared. During the rain delay Auburn head coach Butch Thompson was ejected after arguing with the umpires about how late play was stopped.
When play resumed, Vanderbilt (32-9, 13-6 SEC) scored four unearned runs, cashing in on two Auburn errors. This gave Vanderbilt a 7-0 lead.
Auburn (27-15, 10-9 SEC) got some offensive momentum going in the top of the fifth. The Tigers scored four runs on a double from Judd Ward, a single from Ryan Bliss and a double by Matt Scheffler.
In the top of the sixth Will Holland hit his fourth home run of the year to bring the score to 7-5 in Vanderbilt’s favor. That was the closest the Tigers got to catching up to the Commodores.
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Vanderbilt scored four runs in the bottom of the sixth to extent its lead to 11-5. The Commodores scored one more unearned run in the bottom of the seventh. Of the 12 runs Vanderbilt scored, five were unearned.
The Tigers scored their sixth and final run in the top of the ninth on single from Scheffler.
"We had ample opportunity but fought all the way until the end,” said assistant coach Gabe Gross. ”There were a ton of things we could've done better and a ton of things we need to get cleaned up, but the intensity of effort was there for nine innings.”
Judd Ward matched a career high with three hits. Bliss drove in multiple RBI for his second straight game. Williams had two hits, and Holland got on base three times and scored twice.
Game 2 of the series is set for a 7 p.m. CST start Friday night at Hawkins Field. The game will be aired on the SEC Network.
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