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April 12, 2013

AU downs Dawgs

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AUBURN | As a sophomore in 2012, Ryan Tella led Auburn with a team-best .380 batting average.

John Pawlowski said he is starting to see that version of Tella shine through after the outfielder went 4-for-5 with three runs scored in Auburn's 4-3 victory over Georgia on Friday night.

"The biggest thing is that I am seeing confidence at the plate," Pawlowski said. "I am seeing him carrying himself like he was last year. Baseball is a streaky game and you see guys go through a lot of ups and downs. He is swinging it real well right now."

Georgia jumped out to a one-run lead during the first inning, which marked the 17th game out of last 18 that has included an Auburn deficit. The Tigers answered back later in the inning with Tella's first run to tie the game.

"It is certainly not the way we script it or coach it. It's just unfortunate that we get behind," Pawlowski said. "The team is very resilient and we've done it enough times were we are confident in our ability to come back."

Conner Kendrick came into the game with a 1.98 earned run average, but allowed a walk, a balk and back-to-back singles during the second inning. That allowed the Bulldogs to push ahead 3-1.

The left-hander threw 100 pitches and conceded seven hits, three runs and seven strikeouts through 5 2/3 innings pitched.

"Our guys fought hard. Conner Kendrick clearly did not have his best stuff, but when you look at the bottom line he stayed in there as long as he could and gave us a chance to win," Pawlowski said.

Auburn (21-13, 4-9) closed the lead to 3-2 in the fourth inning after Cullen Wacker drove in Tella with a single. However, the Tigers left 10 baserunners stranded through five innings. Strong defense from Georgia (12-23, 2-11) played a big role in that inefficiency.

"There is a little frustration," Tella said. "The hitting comes and goes. You can't put 12 hits or 10 hits up every game. It just takes somebody to spark the line-up. We got 12 hits today and everybody hit good. If they didn't get hits, they still got a piece of it."

The Tigers got the go-ahead run in the seventh inning after back-to-back doubles from Blake Austin and Hunter Kelley, who was 7-for-33 this season before driving in the eventual winning run.

"Gabe (Gross) always teaches us go one to nine, nine to one and never give up. Just bring our approach every single at bat to the plate," Tella said. "If you don't have a good at bat go to the next one. If that doesn't work keep finding them."

Closer Terrance Dedrick retired the final six Georgia batters in order to consummate Auburn's 15th come-from-behind victory of the year. With Kendrick now in the starting rotation, Dedrick has settled into his new role.

"I love going out there and pitching in general," Dedrick said. "Whether I come in there at the beginning as a long reliever or I came in at the end I just want to go out there and do my best and do whatever I can to help out team."

Auburn will look to continue the momentum tomorrow in a doubleheader Saturday starting at 1 p.m. CDT. There will be no Sunday game due to the threat of severe weather.



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