Florida 5, Auburn 4: Tigers blow 3-run lead in 9th

Michael O'Neal was one out away from a complete game. And then ... - Lauren Barnard photo

Auburn was one out away from a big series win. Now, the Tigers will have to find a way to get up off the mat.

Auburn starting pitcher Michael O'Neal was one out away from a complete-game win. Instead, he took a no-decision in the Tigers' 5-4 loss to Florida Saturday night at McKethan Stadium in Gainesville, Fla.

After a towering solo home run from Blake Austin with two outs in the top of the ninth, Auburn held a 4-1 lead with three outs to go. O'Neal hit Florida second baseman Casey Turgeon with a pitch to start the bottom of the ninth, and Turgeon was cut down at second base on a fielder's choice. Justin Shafer then struck out looking, leaving the Tigers (30-20, 10-16 SEC) one out away from clinching a series win.

Unfortunately, Auburn wouldn't get that final out. First baseman Vickash Ramjit singled through the right side, and third baseman Josh Tobias homered to left, tying the game and ending O'Neal's night. Reliever Reid Carter came on to put out the fire and walked Harrison Bader. Pinch-hitter Zack Powers hit a bloop single down the right-field line, scoring Bader from first and giving Florida (28-24, 13-13) an improbable victory.

O'Neal's final line was good, but it was nearly great. He allowed four runs on six hits and two HBPs in 8 2/3 innings, while striking out two. Carter took the loss, giving up a run without recording an out.

Auburn took a 2-0 lead through three innings, thanks to a Jordan Ebert RBI single in the second and a Pat Savage RBI single in the third. Florida pulled a run back in the fifth, when Brady Roberson drove in Bader with an RBI double. Bader reached on a two-out single, and O'Neal had him picked off between first and second during Roberson's at-bat. But first baseman Garrett Cooper threw the ball away, keeping the inning alive.

The Tigers added insurance in the eighth and ninth, thanks to solo homers from Hunter Kelley and Austin. They had a chance at another run in the eighth, but Cooper was thrown out at the plate trying to score from second on a two-out Ebert single. It appeared that the three-run advantage was enough, but Tobias proved that theory wrong with one swing.

Auburn and Florida are set to meet in the rubber game of the series Sunday at noon CT. Tigers righty Justin Camp will make his first start. The Gators haven't announced their starting pitcher.

Box score, via auburntigers.com

Auburn 4 (30-20,10-16 SEC)

Player ab r h rbi bb so po a lob avg
Hunter Kelley rf 5 2 2 1 0 0 2 0 0 .258
Cullen Wacker lf 4 0 0 0 0 0 2 0 0 .315
Garrett Cooper 1b 3 0 1 0 1 1 14 1 0 .360
Patrick Savage dh 4 1 4 1 0 0 0 0 0 .319
Dan Glevenyak ss 4 0 0 0 0 2 1 5 2 .228
Jordan Ebert 2b 4 0 3 1 0 1 1 3 0 .313
Ryan Tella cf 4 0 0 0 0 1 3 0 0 .271
Damek Tomscha 3b 4 0 0 0 0 2 0 7 1 .266
Blake Austin c 4 1 1 1 0 0 2 0 1 .278
Michael O'Neal p 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 0 0 -
Reid Carter p 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 -
Totals 36 4 11 4 1 7 26 16 6

Florida 5 (28-24,13-13 SEC)

Player ab r h rbi bb so po a lob avg
Richie Martin cf 3 0 1 0 0 0 6 1 1 .301
Casey Turgeon 2b 3 0 0 0 0 0 1 2 0 .275
Taylor Gushue c 4 1 0 0 0 1 8 1 0 .295
Justin Shafer rf 4 0 0 0 0 1 0 0 1 .290
Vickash Ramjit 1b 4 1 1 0 0 0 7 1 0 .288
Josh Tobias 3b 4 1 1 3 0 0 0 3 0 .239
Harrison Bader lf 3 2 1 0 1 0 4 0 0 .297
Brady Roberson dh 3 0 2 1 0 0 0 0 0 .444
Zack Powers ph 1 0 1 1 0 0 0 0 0 .283
Cody Dent ss 3 0 0 0 0 0 0 2 1 .172
Johnny Magliozzi p 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 -
Danny Young p 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 0 0 -
Ryan Harris p 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 -
Daniel Gibson p 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 -
Mike Vinson p 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 -
Totals 32 5 7 5 1 2 27 10 4

Score by Innings                    R  H  E
-------------------------------------------
Auburn.............. 011 000 011 -  4 11  1
Florida............. 000 010 004 -  5  7  0
-------------------------------------------

Note: 2 outs, 1 runner LOB when the game ended.

E - Cooper, G.(8). DP - Auburn 1; UF 1. LOB - Auburn 6; UF 4. 2B - Savage, P.(6); B. Roberson(3); Powers(6). HR - Kelley, H.(2); Austin, B.(3); Tobias(3). HBP - Martin; Turgeon.

Auburn ip h r er bb so wp bk hbp ibb ab bf fo go np era
Michael O'Neal 8.2 6 4 4 0 2 0 0 2 0 31 33 7 16 101 2.98
Reid Carter L,1-1 0.0 1 1 1 1 0 0 0 0 0 1 2 0 0 9 3.26
Florida ip h r er bb so wp bk hbp ibb ab bf fo go np era
Johnny Magliozzi 7.0 7 3 3 1 5 0 0 0 0 27 28 10 5 103 2.37
Danny Young 0.2 2 0 0 0 1 0 0 0 0 4 4 0 1 12 3.76
Ryan Harris 0.1 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 1 0 0 6 2.79
Daniel Gibson 0.1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 1 1 0 3 3.65
Mike Vinson W,1-0 0.2 1 1 1 0 1 0 0 0 0 3 3 0 1 12 5.14

Win - Vinson (1-0). Loss - Carter, R. (1-1). Save - None. HBP - by O'Neal, M. (Martin); by O'Neal, M. (Turgeon). Inherited runners/scored: Harris 2/0. Pitches/strikes: O'Neal, M. 101/67; Carter, R. 9/5; Magliozzi 103/68; Young 12/9; Harris 6/5; Gibson 3/2; Vinson 12/9.

Umpires - HP: Joe Marion 1B: Jeff Head 2B: Richie Tallent 3B: David Brown
Start: 7:05 Time: 2:28 Attendance: 3183
Weather: 81; Mostly Cloudy; W 10 MPH
Magliozzi faced 1 batter in the 8th.
Carter, R. faced 2 batters in the 9th.

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