Auburn’s seven runs in the first three innings helped them defeat No. 20 Georgia 9-7 as they clinched the series Saturday afternoon in Athens.
“We’ve had similar games, and it’s just nice to finally break through and feel good leaving the park on a game three,” said head coach Butch Thompson.
The Tigers jumped out to a 7-0 lead after a three-run first, three-run second and one-run third. Georgia scored in the middle innings to cut the deficit to three, but the Tigers held on to their lead behind a strong relief outing from Carson Swilling, who recorded the final 10 outs and earned his second save of SEC play.
“I wanted the ball,” Swilling said. “The team was behind me and the energy was up. It’s always the same game. It’s never going to change. Growing up, I always wanted to be out there, and I’m always going to give it 100 percent.”
Eight of Auburn’s nine starters recorded a hit, while six drove in a run. Multi-hit games were turned in by Ryan Bliss, Tyler Miller, Rankin Woley, Steven Williams and Bryson Ware.
“I’ve said it all year long, we are a really good team,” Woley said. “This conference is not forgiving, and you just have to come out and play every single day. I’m happy we came out here and took care of business this weekend.”
Similar to Friday night, Auburn got on the scoreboard early with three runs in the first. Williams and Brody Moore hit back-to-back RBI singles, and Ware capped off the frame with a sacrifice fly to left.
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The Tigers kept it going with three more in the second, all coming with two outs. Bliss hit a two-out RBI double in the second to start a string of four straight two-out hits. Miller got his 50th RBI of the season with a single, and Williams drove in his second run with a single down the left-field line to make it 6-0.
Georgia reliever Liam Sullivan turned in four shutout innings on the mound. While Sullivan kept the Tigers at bay, the Bulldogs chipped away at Auburn’s lead. Georgia scored two runs in the third, one in the fourth and another in the sixth to bring the ballgame to 7-4.
Ward broke the scoring drought with his second run of the game on an RBI triple off the top of the wall in the eighth. Miller followed two batters later with his second RBI on a single up the middle to extend Auburn’s lead to 9-4.
Georgia put pressure on the Tigers in the ninth with three runs on four hits and a hit-by-pitch. Swilling ended the Bulldogs rally with a strikeout to end the game to give the Tigers a 9-7 win.
Trace Bright earned his fourth win of the season. Blake Burkhalter turned in a scoreless frame, and Joseph Gonzalez pitched for the second time in two days, going 2.2 innings in the middle portion of the game.
Auburn will return to Plainsman Park for the next four games. The Tigers will kick off the week at home against UAB on Tuesday at 6 p.m. CST.
“We had two keys to the ballgame, the first was Carson Swilling,” Thompson said. “We got very stubborn there at the end and were not going to make another move. I thought he was making enough quality pitches and throwing enough strikes. Then our offense, you talk about multiple guys at the top of the lineup with multiple hits. You just have to give it to the entire offense.”
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