Auburn drops SEC opener to Vanderbilt - WRBL

Auburn drops SEC opener to Vanderbilt

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AUBURN, Ala. -

Auburn pitchers Daniel Koger, Jay Wade and Will Kendall combined to retire the final 20 Vanderbilt hitters but it wasn't enough to overcome an early five-run deficit as Auburn fell to No. 2 Vanderbilt, 5-2, in the SEC Opener for both teams.

The loss snaps Auburn's winning streak at seven and drops the team's record to 13-4, 0-1 SEC while Vanderbilt is now 17-2, 1-0 SEC.

"The difference was they had a couple of big swings and the second home run was obviously the determining factor in the game," Auburn Head Coach John Pawlowski said. "Good teams are going to take advantage of some mistakes. We made some mistakes and they took advantage of it and that was the difference in the ballgame."

Vanderbilt starter Kevin Ziomek (5-0) carried a perfect game through 5 1/3 innings and a no-hitter for 7 2/3 innings before Jordan Ebert roped RBI single to center to cut the Vanderbilt lead to four, 5-1.

Auburn would score again in the ninth when Patrick Savage singled and pinch runner Hunter Kelley scored on a Garrett Cooper sacrifice fly to center off of Vanderbilt closer Brian Miller. Miller would strike out Damek Tomscha one batter later with a man on first to end the game and secure his fifth save of the season.

Vanderbilt went up 2-0 in the first off of Auburn starter Daniel Koger (0-1) on a Conrad Gregor solo home run to right and a Mike Yastrzemski run-scoring double to left-center.

Vanderbilt increased the lead to 5-0 when Connor Harrell hit his fifth home run of the season, a three-run shot off the batter's eye in center. The hit was the last allowed by the Auburn pitching staff.

Koger finished the game allowing five runs on five hits and two walks in six innings while Wade threw two perfect innings behind him and Kendall had a 1-2-3 ninth, including two strike outs.

"I thought Koger settled in (after the home run) and gave us a chance, Jay Wade came in and did a very good job, and Will Kendall too," Pawlowski said. "We were one hitter away from getting the tying run to the plate after being down 5-0. I am encouraged by the way they kept playing hard to the final out."

Ziomek was charged for two runs (one earned) on five hits and two walks while striking out five in 8 1/3 innings.

Auburn will attempt to even the series at 2:15 on Saturday. Left-hander Michael O'Neal (4-0) gets the start on the mound for Auburn while Vanderbilt will start right-hander Tyler Beede (4-0).

Jonathan Huskey

Jonathan comes to News 3 from Fort Smith/Fayetteville, Ark., where he anchored weekends and reported during the week on some of the best high school sports in the state. More>>

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