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Dillon Ortman was strong for seven innings and the Tigers held off a late Tennessee rally in a 3-2 win Friday night in Knoxville.
Auburn (16-7, 3-1 SEC) was able to get out of big jams in three innings as the Vols (18-3, 2-2) left the bases loaded three times.
Ortman (5-1) pitched into the eighth inning, giving up a pair of runs that scored after he left the game and scattering six hits while striking out seven. With his fifth win of the season, he has matched his career win total coming into the season.
With Auburn clinging to a 3-2 lead headed to the ninth, Tennessee got a leadoff base hit off Trey Cochran-Gill, sending Auburn to the bullpen for closer Terrance Dedrick. After a groundout, two straight walks loaded the bases for the Vols with one out. But Keegan Thompson fielded a chopper to first base and came home for the force for the second out, and a fly ball to right ended the threat as Tennessee left the bases loaded for the third time in the game. Dedrick earned his second save of the year.
Jordan Ebert led the way offensively for the Tigers with a 2-for-5 night. Five other players -Ryan Tella, Blake Austin, Daniel Robert, Damon Haecker and Thompson - had one hit apiece.
The series will resume at 3 p.m. Saturday. Keegan Thompson (4-0, 0.69) will face Tennessee's Hunter Martin (2-0, 0.73).
The game will be televised by CSS and simulcast on ESPN3.com.