Game One
Auburn 3, Vanderbilt 1
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Two-Run Seventh Sends Auburn Past Vanderbilt 3-1
in SEC Tournament Opener

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. - Sean Gamble's run scoring single and Bobby Huddleston's sacrifice fly in the seventh inning broke a 1-1 tie as third-seed Auburn defeated sixth-seed Vanderbilt, 3-1, in the first game of the 2003 Southeastern Conference Baseball Tournament, Wednesday, May 23, at Hoover Metropolitan Stadium.

The loss sends Vanderbilt (27-27) into an elimination game Thursday morning against the loser of the Alabama-South Carolina game that began at 1 p.m., on Wednesday. Auburn (39-17) advances to face the winner of the Crimson Tide-Gamecock match up.

Auburn's Cory Dueitt (7-2) pitched two innings of relief to pick up the win. Tiger closer Steven Register stuck out four during the eighth and ninth innings to record his 15th save of the season. Chris Dennis made only his third start of the year for Auburn (in 21 appearances) but limited the Commodores to three hits and a walk in five innings of work. He struck out two batters.

Vanderbilt starter Jeremy Sowers (7-5) took his first loss in eight decisions (dating back to a 2-0 loss at then-No. 10 South Carolina on March 28). Sowers allowed six hits, three runs (all earned) and three walks to go along with seven strikeouts. His strikeout total was one shy of the Commodore record in a SEC Tournament game. Paul Seybt struck out eight against Florida, May 19, 1995.

Both starters shut down the opposition's offense during the first four and a half innings. Auburn took a 1-0 lead in the bottom of the fifth. Chuck Jeroloman led off with a double into the right-center field alley. Josh Todd followed with a bunt single that got past Sowers in front of the mound and allowed Jeroloman to advance to third base. Jereoloman scored on the next play when he slide under the tag at home plate following Sean Gamble's fielder's choice grounder to Tony Mansolino at third base.

The Commodores immediately answered in the sixth frame. Ryan Klosterman led off with a double down the third-base line. He went to third following John Kaye's ground out to second base. Cesar Nicolas then brought in Klosterman with a sacrifice fly to center field.

Auburn's two-run seventh inning started with a leadoff double by Jeroloman. Todd legged out his second bunt single next. Gamble singled through the right side of the infield to plate Jeroloman for a 2-1 Tiger lead. After Todd was retired at third base on a fielder's choice back to the mound by Javon Moran. Tug Hullett walked to load the bases and chase Sowers from the game. After VU reliever Jensen Lewis entered the game, Huddleston hit a foul fly out to right field that scored Gamble from third base.

Jeroloman went 2-for-4 for the Tigers, scoring twice.

Vanderbilt's John Kaye had two of the Commodores' five hits.

Vanderbilt pitchers struck out nine Tigers in the game to finish one punch out shy of the school record for a league tournament game. The Commodores struck out 10 against Auburn on May 13, 1980.




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