HOOVER, Ala. – With Auburn leading 3-2 in the bottom of the seventh inning, Judd Ward cracked the game open with a two-run home run, which would eventually be the major difference in Auburn’s 5-3 victory over Tennessee on Tuesday night.
The sophomore left fielder went 2-4 with three RBIs in the win. Ward, the leadoff hitter, was the only Tiger in the first four spots of the lineup to get a hit.
The bottom half of the order stepped up as five of Auburn’s seven hits came from the five through nine spots.
With Tanner Burns doubtful for the SEC Tournament and Jack Owen only having three days of rest since his last start, Auburn gave Elliot Anderson the start. The junior left-hander gave up two runs on three hits in four innings of work. He added six strikeouts and four walks to his tally.
Auburn’s pitching staff was depleted coming into the tournament, but some unconventional names produced meaningful innings for the Tigers on the mound.
Freshman Will Morrison faced one batter in setup as Bailey Horn faced the next 14 batters across four innings en route to claiming his third win of the season. Horn gave up one run off one hit with six strikeouts.
After giving up his lone hit, a home run in the ninth inning, Horn was pulled, and Cody Greenhill entered the game to get the last two outs and claim his 10th save of the season.
Looking at the NCAA Tournament picture, this will be considered a major win for Auburn as most projections place the Tigers in the field of 64. Tuesday night’s win appears to have made Auburn a lock for the NCAA Tournament.
Auburn (33-23, 14-16) advances to the double-elimination portion of the SEC Tournament. They will face No. 1 seed Vanderbilt (45-10, 23-7) at 4:30 p.m. on Wednesday.