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Tigers beat UK, end losing streak

LEXINGTON, Ky. – For Auburn’s baseball team, the streak is over.

Casey McElroy drove home five runs

After six consecutive Southeastern Conference losses, the Tigers road hot bats to a 12-9 victory over Kentucky on Friday at Cliff Hagan Stadium.

Casey McElroy was 4-for-5 and drove in five runs. Kevin Patterson was 4-for-5 and hit his fifth home run of the season, a monster shot over the right field fence. Justin Hargett and Bobby Andrews had two hits apiece. Tony Caldwell drove in three runs. Wes Gilmer drove in two runs.

The Tigers, swept at Mississippi State and at home against Vanderbilt the past two weekends, improved to 16-14 overall and 3-7 in the Southeastern Conference. The Wildcats fell to 16-15 and 2-8.

After Kentucky scored three runs in the seventh to take a 7-6 lead, Auburn answered with six runs in the eighth. Kentucky scored two runs in the ninth before Dillon Orman came on to retire all three batters he faced to earn his first career save.

“I thought our team battled back,” Auburn coach John Pawlowski said. “They grinded out this win tonight. We needed a win, and it’s great to see these guys get a W tonight.”

Ethan Wallen, Auburn’s third pitcher, got the win, but it was Zach Blatt who kept the Tigers the game. After Auburn took a 2-0 lead, Kentucky answered quickly with three runs off starter Andrew Morris. Blatt took over to start the second inning and didn’t give up a run until the seventh.

“I told Zach that he just needed to find a way to keep the game close,” Pawlowski said. “I felt like we were going to score some runs. I felt like we had a really good approach at the plate today early in the game.”

Auburn finished with 16 hits in winning on Friday for the first time since March 4. Kentucky had 11 hits, including three home runs.

Patterson said the victory was sweet for him and his teammates.

“The last two weekends have been a nightmare both pitching and hitting,” Patterson said. “Coming out here and banging out some hits and putting up some runs was huge for us.”

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