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March 15, 2013

Tigers' bats stymied by 'Dores pitching


AUBURN, Ala. | The last time Auburn baseball was one-hit was against Vanderbilt in 2006. That was at Plainsman Park.

For seven innings on Friday night, it appeared it may happen again. Kevin Ziomek (5-0) pitched a fantastic game, not allowing an Auburn hit until the seventh inning on the way to No. 2 Vanderbilt's 5-2 win.

"The difference was they had a couple of big swings and the second home run was obviously the determining factor in the game," 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."

The Tigers dropped to 13-4, 0-1 on the season. Vanderbilt improved to 17-2, 1-0.

The Commodores scored all five runs in the first three innings. Auburn starter Daniel Koger took the loss (0-1), but pitched well after the three-run home run in the third inning. He retired 11 straight batters before his night ended after the sixth inning. His final line was six innings, five hits and five runs and one strikeout.

Jay Wade entered in relief of Koger and promptly sat down the first six Vanderbilt hitters he faced. Will Kendall pitched the ninth, fresh off his first appearance since last season on Tuesday. Kendall struck out a pair.

In all, Auburn retired 20 straight Commodores to end the game, but it wasn't nearly enough to overcome Ziomek's brilliance. He struck out four on the night and only allowed one baserunner to reach second base, throwing 8.1 innings.

"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."

Auburn finally broke through in the eighth inning. After a Blake Austin fielder's choice landed him on first, Ziomek balked Austin to second. Freshman Jordan Ebert approached and singled into center scoring Austin. Kody Ortman then pinch hit for Jackson Burgreen and singled to centerfield putting a pair of runners on.

Sam Gillikin pinch ran for Ortman on first. But with two outs, Glevenyak grounded out to end the rally.

Auburn pushed another run across in the ninth after back-to-back singles by Patrick Savage and Cullen Wacker, and a SAC fly by Garrett Cooper. But a Damek Tomscha strikeout with a man on first ended the game.

Ryan Tella, Savage, Wacker, Ebert and Ortman notched Auburn's five hits on the night. Vanderbilt was led at the plate by Conrad Gregor (2-for-4, 2R, RBI, HR) and Connor Harrell (1-for-3, 3 RBI, 2 R, HR).

The two teams meet again on Saturday at 2:15 p.m. CT. The game is televised on SportsSouth.

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