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Auburn 6, Mercer 5: Ryan Tella's walk-off single gives Tigers sweep

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Auburn blew a ninth-inning lead, but rallied back to win its third straight over the Bears.

Zach Bland/Auburn University photo

Auburn blew a three-run lead in the ninth inning, but senior center fielder Ryan Tella hit a two-out walk-off single to give the Tigers a 6-5 win over Mercer Sunday at Plainsman Park. The victory finished off a sweep over a solid Bears team.

In the bottom of the ninth, Jordan Ebert led off with a single and stole second to get in scoring position with nobody out. Anfernee Grier popped out, and Damon Haecker moved Ebert to third with a sacrifice bunt. After Damek Tomscha was intentionally walked and Blake Austin was hit by a pitch with a 1-2 count, Tella came up with the bases loaded and a chance to be a hero. He quickly fell behind 0-2, but fouled off three pitches and battled back to a 2-2 count. He finally got a pitch to handle and slapped a hard ground ball single through the left side, scoring Ebert and sparking a celebration for the Tigers.

Auburn (9-6) took a 5-2 lead into the top of the ninth, but Terrance Dedrick wasn't able to close it out. After a double, a double with an error, a single, a sac bunt and a single, Mercer was down 5-4 with runners at first and third. Another sac bunt tied the game and put the potential go-ahead run at second with two away. Haecker committed a throwing error from deep in the hole at short to put runners on the corners again, but Dedrick finaly got out of the inning with a swinging strikeout. When the damage was done, the Bears (12-5) had three runs on four hits and two errors in the inning.

In a repeat of Saturday's first inning, the Tigers opened the scoring in the bottom of the first with a two-out homer over the monster in left to take a 1-0 lead. After Mercer took the lead with two in the top of the fifth thanks to two errors, but Auburn bounced back in the sixth. A squeeze bunt from Haecker, a single from Austin and a bases-loaded HBP from pinch-hitter Jackson Burgreen brought in three runs. The Tigers added a much-needed insurance run in the eighth when Tella led off with a triple and Burgreen drove him in with another squeeze.

Tella had a huge day, going 3-for-5 with a run scored and an RBI. Ebert was 3-for-4 with two runs scored and two stolen bases. After his homer, Tomscha finished 1-for-2 with two free passes.

Michael O'Neal got the start on the mound for Auburn and pitched well enough to win. O'Neal went 6 2/3 innings and gave up two unearned run on three hits. He struck out four without walking a batter. Jay Wade struck out the only hitter he faced, and Trey Cochran-Gill allowed two hits and struck out one in one inning. Dedrick (1-1) stole the win with an ugly final line of one inning, five hits, three earned runs and one strikeout.

Eric Nyquist pitched 5 1/3 innings for the Bears, allowing four runs on six hits and picking up two Ks. Ben Lumsden (0-2) took the loss after giving up two runs on three hits and two walks in 2 1/3 innings. He struck out one.

Auburn hits the road for a midweek game at Kennesaw State Tuesday evening. First pitch is scheduled for 5 p.m. CT.

Mercer 5 (12-5)

Player ab r h rbi bb so po a lob
LAGARDE, Sasha cf 4 0 1 1 0 2 1 0 0
BARRETT, Austin 1b/c 5 0 2 0 0 0 8 1 0
BACKLUND, Nick dh 5 0 0 0 0 2 0 0 2
YOUNG, Chesny 3b 4 0 1 0 0 0 0 2 2
MASSI, Michael 2b/ss 4 1 1 0 0 0 1 1 1
MADDEN, Charlie c 3 1 1 0 0 0 6 0 0
EDGEWORTH, Danny ph 1 1 1 1 0 0 0 0 0
LOWE, Nathaniel 1b 0 0 0 0 0 0 2 0 0
WORKMAN, Derrick rf 2 1 1 1 0 1 1 0 1
LEWIS, Kyle lf 3 1 0 0 0 1 4 0 1
MEEDER, Matt ss 2 0 1 2 0 1 2 4 0
MOORHOUSE, Nate ph 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
BONIN, Devin 2b 1 0 1 0 0 0 0 0 0
NYQUIST, Eric p 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 2 0
PITTMAN, Morgan p 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
GLAZE, Stephen p 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
LUMSDEN, Ben p 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
Totals 35 5 10 5 0 7 26 10 7

Auburn 6 (9-6)

Player ab r h rbi bb so po a lob
Anfernee Grier rf 5 1 1 0 0 1 3 0 0
Damon Haecker ss 3 1 0 1 0 1 0 2 0
Damek Tomscha 1b 2 1 1 1 2 0 9 0 0
Blake Austin c 4 0 2 1 0 0 7 0 2
Ryan Tella cf 5 1 3 1 0 1 4 0 1
Dan Glevenyak 2b 3 0 0 0 1 2 2 2 0
Daniel Robert dh 2 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
Keegan Thompson ph 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
Jackson Burgreen ph 0 0 0 2 0 0 0 0 0
Connor Short 3b 4 0 0 0 0 1 0 3 3
Jordan Ebert lf 4 2 3 0 0 0 2 1 0
Michael O'Neal p 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
Jay Wade p 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
Trey Cochran-Gill p 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 0
Terrance Dedrick p 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 0
Totals 32 6 10 6 3 6 27 10 9

Score by Innings                    R  H  E
-------------------------------------------
Mercer.............. 000 020 003 -  5 10  0
Auburn.............. 100 003 011 -  6 10  2
-------------------------------------------

Note: 2 outs, 3 runners LOB when the game ended.

E - Grier, A.(2); Short, C.(4). DP - MER 1. LOB - MER 7; Auburn 9. 2B - MASSI(2); MADDEN(2). 3B - EDGEWORTH; Tella, R.(1). HR - Tomscha, D.(3). HBP - WORKMAN; Austin, B.; Burgreen, J.. SH - LAGARDE(3); WORKMAN(2); LEWIS(2); Haecker, D. 2(5); Tomscha, D.(1); Burgreen, J.(1). SB - Austin, B.(3); Ebert, J. 2(4).

Mercer ip h r er bb so wp bk hbp ibb ab bf fo go np
NYQUIST, Eric 5.1 6 4 4 0 2 0 0 0 0 20 22 6 7 82
PITTMAN, Morgan 0.1 0 0 0 1 1 0 0 0 1 1 2 0 0 8
GLAZE, Stephen 0.2 1 0 0 0 2 0 0 1 0 3 4 0 0 18
LUMSDEN, Ben L,0-2 2.1 3 2 2 2 1 0 0 1 2 8 13 3 3 53
Auburn ip h r er bb so wp bk hbp ibb ab bf fo go np
Michael O'Neal 6.2 3 2 0 0 4 0 0 1 0 23 25 9 6 92
Jay Wade 0.1 0 0 0 0 1 0 0 0 0 1 1 0 0 5
Trey Cochran-Gill 1.0 2 0 0 0 1 0 0 0 0 5 5 1 1 19
Terrance Dedrick W,1-1 1.0 5 3 3 0 1 0 0 0 0 6 8 0 2 25

Win - Dedrick, T. (1-1). Loss - LUMSDEN (0-2). Save - None. HBP - by GLAZE (Burgreen, J.); by O'Neal, M. (WORKMAN); by LUMSDEN (Austin, B.). Pitches/strikes: NYQUIST 82/55; PITTMAN 8/3; GLAZE 18/10; LUMSDEN 53/29; O'Neal, M. 92/57; Wade, J. 5/3; Cochran-Gill 19/12; Dedrick, T. 25/16.

Umpires - HP: Jay Furlong 1B: Jay Pierce 3B: Darion Padgett
Start: 1:02 pm Time: 3:02 Attendance: 2589
Weather: 68, partly cloudy