Tigers escape with win over USM

MOBILE – Kody Ortman was only in the game because starting catcher Blake Austin had been lifted for a pinch-runner. But when his time came, he was ready.

Cullen Wacker's bases-clearing double forced extra innings.

Ortman’s single with two out in the 11th inning scored Garrett Cooper with the winning run as Auburn rallied from a 3-0 deficit to beat Southern Mississippi 4-3 at Hank Aaron Stadium.

Garrett Cooper led off the inning with a walk and went to second on a Ryan Tella sacrifice bunt. Patrick Savage was intentionally walked and Tomscha fouled out to the catcher before Ortman slapped the game-winner into left field.

Cullen Wacker’s two-out, three-run double tied the game in the bottom of the eighth.

“Wacker sat on a fastball and absolutely smoked that ball,” Auburn coach John Pawlowski said. “Then Kody came through with a big hit today too. I am really proud of our team. We didn’t have anything going. This was a game where we were getting stuffed for most of the game. Our guys had a lot of energy in the dugout. We had some fun with it and we found a way to win tonight.”

Auburn (14-6) will travel to Baton Rouge for a three-game series at No. 3 LSU. The Bayou Bengals had to go 13 innings Wednesday night to beat Northwestern State 2-1.

Trailing 3-0 going to the bottom of the eighth and with just three hits off of Southern Miss starter Jake Drehoff, Auburn capitalized on free bases before Wacker’s double. Damek Tomscha reached on an error by the Southern Miss left fielder to start the inning. Two batters later, Dan Glevenyak was hit by a pitch to put two on base. Pinch hitter J.D. Crowe then drew a walk to load the bases. After Jordan Ebert went down swinging for the second out of the inning, Wacker blistered a double into the gap in right-center, clearing the bases.

“It’s special to come out here and get a win, especially with a clutch hit like I did,” Wacker, who is from Mobile, said. “This is a good team win and gives us some momentum going into Baton Rouge.”

Conner Kendrick (2-0) earned the win out of the Auburn bullpen, throwing 3 1/3 shutout innings. He retired 10 consecutive hitters, five by strikeouts.

Southern Miss took a 1-0 lead on Tim Lynch’s sacrifice fly in the third. The run was unearned off of Trey Cochran-Gill, who went five innings and allowed three hits and two walks while striking out four.

Southern Miss scored twice more in the eighth to extend the lead to 3-0. Blake Brown led off with a double and went to third on a sacrifice bunt. Nick Dawson followed with a triple and scored on a wild pitch.

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