Streaking Tigers take down Gators

GAINESVILLE, Fla. – Auburn’s baseball team’s late-season hot streak got even hotter Friday night at McKeathan Stadium.

Ryan Tella hit a 3-run homer in the fourth inning.

The Tigers leapt to a 6-0 lead and went on to their fifth straight victory, third straight against SEC teams, beating Florida 7-4 in the first game of a three-game series. They improved to 30-19 overall and 10-15 in the SEC. Florida lost its fifth consecutive SEC game and fell to 27-24 overall and 12-13 in the SEC.

“I’m just proud of our club, the way we played tonight,” Auburn coach John Pawlowski said. “We just have to keep doing what we are doing. The guys understand the position we are in. I feel like the guys are playing with a lot of confidence right now and good things are happening. Good things are going to keep happening.”

Ryan Tella’s three-run homer in the fourth inning gave the Tigers a 3-0 lead they would not relinquished. They got three more runs in the fifth when Dan Glevenyak hit a two-run double and Jordan Ebert had a run-scoring single.

After Florida scored four runs in the seventh, three of them unearned after Glevenyak’s throwing error to start the inning, Jordan Ebert launched a solo home run to left in the top of the ninth for the game’s final run.

Starter Conner Kendrick got the win to improve to 4-3. He went 6 1/3 innings, giving up seven hits and a single earned run. Trey Cochran-Gill pitched one-third of an inning before closer Terrance Dedrick came on to close it out for his seventh save, pitching 2 1/3 hitless innings.

The Tigers moved a step closer to clinching a berth in the 12-team SEC Tournament. They also kept their hopes of surging into an NCAA regional alive. They’ll try to win their second straight series Saturday. First pitch is set for 6 p.m.

“It’s obviously an important game,” Pawlowski said, “for a lot of reasons.”

Glevenyak was 3-for-5 with two runs batted in and two runs scored for the Tigers. Garrett Cooper was 2-for-5, extending his hitting streak to 13 games. Tella was 2-for-5 with three runs batted in and a run scored. Ebert was 2-for-5 with two runs batted in and two runs scored. All Auburns scored after two were out.

“That was really exciting,” Pawlowski said. “I thought our guys did a good job and came up with some big hits.”

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