*Courtesy Auburn Media Relations*
AUBURN, Ala. - Freshman Keegan Thompson gave Auburn a chance to win Sunday, dominating East Tennessee State hitters into the ninth inning.
But the Tigers, mired in a suffocating offensive slump, could not take advantage. Two misplays on defense opened the door, and the Bucs escaped Plainsman Park with a 3-2 victory in 10 innings in the final game of the Tiger Classic at Plainsman Park.
It was Auburn's third loss in four games. The Tigers scored just four runs in their own tournament, beating Arkansas-Pine Bluff 2-1 on Friday and losing 5-0 to California on Saturday. Auburn fell to 3-4 on the season. East Tennessee State improved to 4-3.
First-year coach Sunny Golloway was left looking for answers.
"We're a work in progress," Golloway said. "We'll get it fixed, but it's going to take a lot of hard work and some sleepless nights. We play a long 56-game schedule. Thank God we're not in conference play having the woes we are having now. We'll get it figured out."
Auburn took a 2-0 lead in the fourth on freshman Blake Logan's two-run single. It might have been more, but freshman Damon Haecker, trying to score on Blake Austin's single, got the go sign from third-base coach Greg Norton and was thrown out easily at home plate.
Another opportunity was lost in the third inning when, with Anfernee Grier on third and Dan Glevenyak at bat with one out, head coach Sunny Golloway called for a squeeze. The pitch was in the dirt and Grier was tagged out.
After Thompson retired 16 consecutive hitters, the Bucs scratched out a run in the seventh. In the top of the ninth, Jeremy Taylor reached second on Glevenyak's error and went to third on a sacrifice. Closer Terrance Dedrick replaced Thompson. Clinton Freeman's single through the drawn in infield tie the game.
In the 10th, left fielder Hunter Kelley dived and turned what would have been a single into a triple for Chris Cook, who scored the winning run. Auburn went quietly in the bottom of the 10th.
As he promised, Golloway shook up his lineup. But in the end, it didn't matter.
Logan and Austin led Auburns offense with two hits apiece. Thompson gave up two runs on four hits in 8 1/3 innings and striking out five. Dedrick took the loss, giving up a run on two hits in 1 2/3 innings.
Golloway expressed dismay in much of what he saw, especially what he saw from some upperclassmen.