Auburn completes comeback to inflict Tennessee Tech’s first loss


MADISON, Alabama – Auburn scored four unanswered runs in the latter stages to defeat Tennessee Tech, 4-3, and hand the Golden Eagles their first loss of the season Wednesday night in front of 6,710 fans at Toyota Field.

After trailing 3-0 in the top of the fifth, the Tigers managed a run in the fifth, another in the seventh and two more in the eighth to complete the comeback effort.

“It was our toughest game of the year. There’s no doubt about it,” said the head coach Butch Thompson noted. “It’s the toughest training we’ve faced so far.”

Auburn (12-2) cut the deficit to one in by Blake Rambusch RBI triples in the seventh and loads the bases on three straight walks to start the eighth. National College Baseball Player of the Week Ryan Dyall fired one shot per pitch with the bases loaded to tie the game, and Bryson Ware gave Auburn the lead on a sacrificial fly to left field.

After coming into play at the start of the eighth, Blake Burkhalter (2-0, 1.04) returned to the mound in the ninth and knocked out Tennessee Tech’s two-to-four batters to end the game.

“It was crazy,” Burkhalter said of the finish. “My body is still shaking because I was so excited. I used to be nervous in that situation, but I’m eating it now. I can’t wait for it. That nervousness turns into excitement. I I’m ready for that now.”

Tennessee Tech (10-1) threatened to lead the scoring with two runners in scoring position and one out in the top of the fourth inning. However, the Auburn starter mason barnet came out of the inning with his fourth strikeout of the game. Barnett ultimately pitched 4.2 innings and struck out five.

The Tigers tried to hit back at the bottom of the frame when Brody Moore stole second base to get into scoring position. Ware hit one deep right, but was caught by Tennessee Tech’s right fielder who hit the wall to end the inning.

Bryson Ware hit one against the wall, then we are sent off at home plate. We had a chance to score, and it just wasn’t happening to us,” Thompson said.

Tennessee Tech started the scoring for the game with back-to-back doubles on an out in the top of the fifth inning and added two more on an RBI single and a field error later in the frame.

Auburn immediately cut its deficit as Jake Wyandt fired a brace from the left field line and then scored on an RBI brace from Kason Howell at the end of the round.

After Jean Armstrong recorded the final out of the fifth, Chase Allup came on to start the sixth inning and struck out three in 2.0 scoreless innings.

Auburn continued to recover late in the seventh with a single par Cole Foster followed by Rambusch’s triple RBI to make it a 3-2 game. The Tigers nearly tied the game as Howell hit a fly ball to right field, but Rambusch was tagged home to end the inning.

Junior Nate LaRue came on as relief from Allsup to start the eighth inning, recorded a pair of outs before giving way to Burkhalter, who struck out Tennessee Tech’s leadoff batter to get Auburn back to the plate and set the stage for even runs and green light mentioned above.

Auburn returns to Plainsman Park to start a three-game series against Middle Tennessee (4-9) Friday at 6 p.m. CT.

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