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<p><em>©</em> Photo by Noelle Iglesias/Auburn Tigers</p>
© Photo by Noelle Iglesias/Auburn Tigers

Auburn falls to Kentucky in a hard-fought game one

AUBURN, Ala. – Auburn welcomed the eighth-ranked Kentucky Wildcats to Plainsman Park for the first of a three-game weekend series, fresh off the back of a head-scratching midweek loss to Alabama State. Unfortunately, Auburn’s luck didn’t change as they fell to Kentucky 6-5 in yet another close game.

Kentucky came out swinging, scratching two runs across in the first inning off of Auburn starter Dylan Watts courtesy of RBI singles by Mitchell Daly and Ryan Nicholson. The Wildcats would add two more runs off of Watts in the fourth inning, though they were both unearned. Carson Meyers, who had been brought in to relieve Watts, allowed a ground ball to third base that, due to an error by Auburn third baseman Gavin Miller, allowed two runners charged to Watts to score and give Kentucky a 4-0 lead.

Undeterred, Auburn answered with a four-run fourth inning. Kentucky pitcher Trey Pooser walked Mason Maners, Cade Belyeu, and Chris Stanfield to load the bases, which were subsequently cleared by a Deric Fabian double that chased Pooser from the game. Cale Stricklin was then able to score Fabian on a single off of Kentucky reliever Cameron O’Brien to tie the game 4-4.

Despite the early error and runs in the third inning, Meyers locked down the Kentucky lineup for the middle of the game. He pitched strong and delivered shutout baseball until the 7th inning. After getting two quick outs in the frame, Meyers allowed a double by Mitchell Daly, and then a two-run homer by Ryan Nicholson that extended Kentucky’s lead to 6-4. After that, Meyers was pulled in favor of Will Cannon, who held Kentucky scoreless for the remaining 2.1 innings.

Despite the two-run deficit, Auburn nearly mounted a rally in the bottom of the ninth. Cooper Weiss singled to center field and Ike Irish reached on an infield error, both with no outs. However, a Cooper McMurray strikeout and ground-ball double-play by Gavin Miller put an end to the rally, the inning, and the night as a whole for Auburn. 

The loss drops Auburn to 2-11 in SEC play this season, with five of those losses being by two runs or less. Kentucky improves to 12-1 in SEC play, their best start in program history. Auburn will look to bounce back over the next two days as they search for their first SEC series win of the season. First pitch is set for 6 pm on Friday and 2 PM on Saturday, with both games being broadcast on SECN+ and the Auburn Sports Network.

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