Headed into the seventh inning Wednesday night, Auburn baseball needed four to have a chance at four — four runs to keep its hopes of four straight wins against SEC regular-season champion Florida.
While the Tigers got their four in a wet-and-wild seventh in Hoover, Ala., Florida got the last laugh in a late-night 5-4 victory in the second round of the SEC Baseball Tournament.
The No. 1-seed Gators rallied in the bottom of the eighth against the Auburn bullpen and broke the 4-4 tie with a bases-loaded walk just before the clock struck 1 a.m. Thursday.
Florida’s late surge came after a big one from Auburn. The Tigers trailed 4-0 after four innings after the Gators got after Cole Lipscomb, the Auburn closer who was making his first start of the season. Lipscomb retired the first seven Florida hitters he faced, but an error from Jay Estes set up an opening run in the third.
Florida engineered a two-out rally in the fourth inning to tack three more runs on the board. Auburn sent in Calvin Coker to relieve Lipscomb, and he came up with three straight shutout innings. Coker struck out a career-high six batters — all in a row — in his 3.2 innings of work.
The Tigers, who stranded six runners in the first five innings, finally broke through in the top of the seventh thanks to a Florida throwing error. After a walk loaded the bases, Conor Davis hammered a double into right field that brought two runners home.
Dylan Ingram, who slipped on third base on Davis’ double, quickly tied the game on a wild pitch.
Coker struck out the side in the seventh inning, but he ran into some trouble in the eighth. A pair of singles and a walk loaded the bases and prompted Auburn head coach Butch Thompson to call on Elliott Anderson from the bullpen.
Anderson walked in what would be the game-winning run on five pitches. The Tigers limited the damage with a double play forced by Gabe Klobosits, but they couldn’t engineer any runs against dominant Florida closer Michael Byrne.
What’s next for Auburn baseball
Auburn will find out its Thursday opponent in the morning, when Mississippi State faces Arkansas.
The Tigers will take on the loser of Mississippi State vs. Arkansas — a second-round game that was pushed back to Thursday due to weather — at 5:30 p.m. ET/4:30 p.m. CT on Thursday (SEC Network). This will be an elimination game.