Cooper swings and Auburn wins

COLLEGE STATION, Texas – Garrett Cooper drove a three-run home run, his second in a week, over the left field fence with one out in the 10th inning and Auburn went on to beat Texas A&M 6-4 Friday night in the first game of a three-game series at Blue Bell Park.

Garrett Cooper's three-run homer propelled Auburn to victory.

Auburn improved to 18-12 overall and 2-8 in the Southeastern Conference. Texas A&M fell to 19-12 and 5-5.

Texas A&M took a 2-0 lead n the first inning, but Auburn coach John Pawlowski said Auburn players didn’t blink.

“They hung tough,” Auburn Pawlowski said. “We were down 2-0, and I just liked the resiliency of the way we were tonight. They never batted an eye. It wasn’t coming easy, and finally we came up with some big hits. It’s great to see Cooper hit that home run but you look back on it and he beat out a ground ball double-play by hustling down the line. Sometimes it’s more about the little things than the big things.”

Cooper, who hit a three-run shot in Auburn’s 6-3 win over Alabama last Friday, took the second offering he saw from Texas A&M reliever Zach Brashear out over the wall in left for his third home run of the season to complete Auburn’s 13th comeback win of the season. Ryan Tella started the inning with a single off of Texas A&M reliever Andrew Vinson and stole second before Cullen Wacker drew a one-out walk, forcing Texas A&M to call on Brashear, who hadn’t allowed an earned run all season.

“Gabe (Gross) told me before the at-bat to look inside because his ball tailed in,” Cooper said. “I sat inside and luckily got the head on it for a line-drive home run. It’s a great feeling to have back-to-back weekends with those home runs.”

Terrance Dedrick (2-2) earned the win out of the Auburn bullpen. He gave up a run in the 10th inning and two hits in 3 2/3 innings. He struck out three.

“Blake (Austin) did a great job behind the plate calling the game,” Dedrick said. “It felt pretty good out there. My off-speed was working, and I felt like I was locating my fastball well at times.”

Vinson (0-1) took the loss, being charged for two runs on a hit and a walk while only recording one out in the 10th before giving way to Brashear.

Texas A&M took a 2-0 lead in the first as Mikey Reynolds and Blake Allemand both singled and scored, putting Auburn behind for the 14th consecutive game.

After scuffling through six innings in which it only got four hits, Auburn was able to tie the game at 2-2 in the top of the seventh when Dan Glevenyak’s two-out double went past the outstretched arm of Texas A&M centerfielder Krey Bratsen, allowing both Jackson Burgreen and Blake Austin to score. Burgreen had singled with two down in the inning and then Austin reached on a throwing error on Texas A&M shortstop Mikey Reynolds to put runners on the corners.

Texas A&M reclaimed the lead, 3-2, in the seventh when Glevenyak’s throw to get Bratsen at first with two down sailed past Cooper at first and out of play, allowing pinch runner J.B. Moss to score from second with the go-ahead run.

Auburn tied it at 3-3 in the eighth when Tella singled and scored on a Cooper fielder’s choice.

Tella finished the game with three hits, equaling his career high. Cooper drove in a career-high four runs.

Neither starter factored into the decision despite both pitching well. Conner Kendrick settled in to throw 6 2/3 innings, allowing three runs (two earned) while Texas A&M starter Daniel Mengden went seven innings, getting charged for two unearned runs.

Junior left-hander Michael O’Neal (5-2) gets the ball on for Auburn on Saturday at 2 p.m. as it attempts to clinch the series. Texas A&M will counter with right-hander Grayson Long (3-0).

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