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Hot-hitting Tigers win big

LEXINGTON, Ky. –Tony Caldwell said he doesn’t remember getting five hits in a game or hitting three home runs at any level.

Tony Caldwell has career night at the plate.

He’ll remember Saturday night.

Caldwell, Auburn’s senior catcher, went 5-for-5, hit three home runs and drove in seven runs, all career-highs, as Auburn smacked Kentucky 15-8 to clinch a series victory at Cliff Hagan Stadium.

“The ball is flying here,” said Caldwell, who also threw out a runner attempting to steal second base. “There were a lot of home runs here today. I got some good pitches and didn’t miss them. I never thought I’d have a game like this today. Everything fell into place.”

Auburn coach John Pawlowski said it didn't happen by accident.

"To do what he did today is just tremendous," Pawlowski said. "He did a great job behind the plate, too. He’s been a leader and has done a tremendous job for us. It’s a tribute to how hard he’s worked and the time he’s put into it."

Trailing 6-3 after five innings, the Tigers scored four in the top of the top of the sixth to take the lead and went on to score 12 unanswered runs and continued their rebound from six consecutive Southeastern Conference losses.

Cory Luckie relieved starter Derek Varnadore to start the sixth inning and was dominating. Luckie did not give up a hit or a run until the ninth inning, when the Wildcats scored two consolation runs. He equaled his career-high with nine strikeouts and earned his first career SEC save. Varnadore got the win and improved to 4-1. Kentucky starter Corey Littrell took the loss.

But Auburn’s offense was the story of the night.

The Tigers had 20 hits. Casey McElroy was 3-for-5 with a home run after going 4-5 in Friday’s 13-9 victory. Creede Simpson was 3-for-5 with a home run and two doubles. Bobby Andrews, Justin Fradejas and Dan Gamache had two hits apiece. Every batter in the Auburn lineup had at least one hit.

Auburn improved to 17-14 on the season and 4-7 in the SEC, moving to within one game of second place in the West. Kentucky fell to 16-16 and 2-9.

Varnadore gave up just six hits in five innings, but three of them were home runs.

Jon Luke Jacobs will get the start on the mound as the Tigers go for the series sweep. The game, which will be televised by CSS, is scheduled for noon CDT.

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