Auburn Holds Off Vanderbilt 5-4

AUBURN, Ala. ­— Auburn broke a 2-2 tie with a three-run eighth inning and held off a later Vanderbilt rally in the top of the ninth to win 5-4 Sunday afternoon at Plainsman Park.

The Tigers avoided the sweep to move to 29-24 overall and 8-19 in Southeastern Conference play, while the Commodores fell to 43-10 overall and 19-8 in league play.

Josh Donaldson led off the eighth with a double off the wall in left and moved to third on a sacrifice bunt by Mike Bianucci. Casey Weathers then came on in relief and gave up an infield single to Joseph Sanders to give the Tigers a 3-2 lead. Andy Bennett then followed with a two-run homer to right to extend the lead to 5-2.

The Commodores rallied in the top of the ninth as Pedro Alvarez singled and moved to second on a walk to Ryan Flaherty. Matt Meingasner flew out to right allowing Alvarez to tag up to third. Ryan Davis then hit into what looked to be a double play, but Auburn second baseman Joseph Brooks threw the ball away at second, allowing Alvarez to score. Andrew Giobbi then flew out to center, moving Flaherty up a base. Shea Robin hit a liner to left-center to score Flaherty and pinch-runner Jonathan White moved all the way to third on the hit. The rally came up short however as David Macias struck out to end the game.

“The three runs we gave up in the eighth and not scoring in the middle part of the game was the story,” said Vanderbilt head coach Tim Corbin. “We were just sloppy on the bases and didn’t play very well today.”

The Tigers held a 2-1 lead in the eighth when Shea Robin hit a solo homer to right off of Brett Butts to tie it. It was his second homer of the year and first since hitting one against Rice in the season opener in Houston on Feb. 9.

Butts gave up three runs, two earned, on four hits in three innings of work to improve to 2-2 on the year.

Nick Christiani (5-3) was the tough luck loser, giving up one run on two hits in three innings with a walk.

Robin led the Commodores with three hits and two RBI, while Pedro Alvarez added two hits of his own. Ryan Flaherty had a hit as well to extend his team best hitting streak to 21 games.

Donaldson’s solo homer in the third, his 10th of the year, gave Auburn an early 1-0 lead.

Alvarez responded right back for VU hitting a solo shot of his own, his 15th of the year, to right field to tie the game at 1-1.

The Tigers regained the lead in the second on a RBI single by Philip Stringer that scored Ross Smith who walked and stole second with two outs in the inning.

Cody Crowell gave up two run on five hits in 4.1 innings of work with four strikeouts and two walks.

The Commodores will head back home and host LSU in the final SEC series of the year. The set begins on Thursday at 7 p.m. and will continue at 7 p.m. on Friday and Noon on Saturday. The three-game set starts a day earlier due to teams around the league requesting an extra day of rest prior to the SEC tournament.

Vanderbilt 000 100 012 – 4 9 1
Auburn 001 100 03x – 5 10 2

Crowell, Christiani (5), Weathers (8) and Robin. Woodall, Dennis (6), Butts (7) and Donaldson. W- Butts 2-2, L- Christiani 5-3. Sv- None. HR- VU:.Alvarez (15), Robin (2). AUB: Donaldson (10), Bennett (1).