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A spirit that is not afraid

Auburn secures first series win of season against Missouri

Auburn baseball is heading back home with a smile on its face after capping off a series against Missouri on Sunday, winning 9-7 at Taylor Stadium.

The win helped secure the program’s first SEC series win in 358 days, which happened to be against Missouri in 2023. 

The Auburn Tigers had to fight in the end to claim the victory, but they were ultimately led by the play of Chris Stanfield whose clutch hitting proved to be big late in the game.

After Caden Green and Deric Fabian both hit singles into right field, Stanfield stepped up to the plate, sending a ball high and deep over the left field wall for a home run. The deep shot extended a once three-run Auburn lead to six.

"Just very thankful," Standfield said of his performance. “You always have to stay in the game and play the full nine innings because you never know what’s going to happen. I’m just thankful to come through for the team and for us to get this series win.”

The Tigers also bounced off of Christian Herberholz’s performance, who got the start in Sunday’s finale. In his five innings of work, he gave up no runs on four hits, while also striking out four batters and walking two.

He felt that this outing was special amongst all the ones he had up to this point in his career.

“I was really happy I could just let my defense play behind me and get back in the dugout as quick as I could,” Herberholz said. “I’d say my last two innings I felt my best. Being a starter my whole career, I’ve always gotten stronger as the game went on and today was no different. I just felt really, really good towards the end of the game and felt really under control.”

Herberholz’s outing allowed Auburn to build momentum, gaining a lead early on in the game.

Auburn's lead started in the second inning. Following a Carter Wright groundout, Cade Belyeu hit his sixth home run of the season, sending it out to right center field and putting the Tigers up 1-0.

Things continued to work for the Auburn bats into the third inning. Fabian hit a pitch to right center with two strikes on him, leading off the frame with a double. Stanfield followed that up with a two-strike hit of his own, lacing a single into right center and advancing Fabian to third.

This set Ike Irish up to take the first pitch of his at-bat, and he grounded it to second base for an out, which plated Fabian.

Later in the inning, with runners on the corners, Cooper McMurray singled into right field, bringing in Stanfield. Wright came up immediately after and hit a flyout deep enough to score one more run and put Auburn up 4-0.

After Herberholz’s exit, things began to look better for Missouri, who, up to then, had not had much offensive success.

Trevor Austin began the bottom of the sixth inning with a double to left center. Following a lineout, Danny Corona pushed Austin in with his own double to left center, getting Missouri on the board.

Auburn responded to Missouri's scoring run with a battle in the end of the contest. This eventually gave way to Stanfield, who produced the three-run long ball that put the Tigers up six in the seventh.

The Tigers found another surge in the eighth, trying to end this game on an offensive high. Wright started things off with a single to center field before stealing second later on. Green and Mason Maners both walked to follow, loading the bases up with one out.

Fabian then singled through the right side, scoring two runs and putting Auburn up 9-1 with just six outs left for its opponents.

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It was a lead that was much needed for the Tigers, as their bullpen nearly gave the game and series away.

In the bottom half of the inning, Missouri’s Jackson Lovich led off the hitting with a single into left field and advancing to second on a wild pitch immediately after. A single from Austin to the third base side eventually advanced Lovich to third, putting runners on the corners with no outs.

This was followed up by four consecutive singles off the bats of Jedier Hernandez, Kaden Peer, Juju Stevens and Matt Garcia that pushed across five runs in total, making it 9-6 and putting Missouri back in the game.

Missouri continued a massive comeback effort into the ninth, as Austin hit a solo home run with two outs. It was not enough, though, as Hernandez grounded out right after and ended the game to secure Auburn victory.

Head coach Butch Thompson was proud of the way his team bounced back despite the disappointment that resulted from Friday’s loss in Columbia.

“It is (nice), especially to bounce back after a tough game Friday night,” Thompson said. “A couple of challenges that we have are still there, but we played enough offense all weekend.”

Fabian’s performance for Auburn was a big factor to go along with Stanfield’s hitting. He gathered up three hits on the day, racking up two RBIs and two runs of his own to go along with it.

Hayden Murphy closed the game out for the Tigers after the game got tight, coming out of the bullpen for two innings of work. He gave up one run on two hits and struck out two as well.

Auburn looks to end its midweek slate off on a positive note, as it heads to Hoover, Alabama, for its yearly matchup with the Samford Bulldogs on Tuesday, May 14.

First pitch in the game between the Tigers and Bulldogs is set for 6 p.m. CST at Hoover Metropolitan Stadium.

Tyler Raley | Sports Writer

Tyler Raley is a junior from Birmingham, Alabama, majoring in journalism.

Twitter: @traley34

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