AUBURN, Ala. — That’s why baseball teams get 27 outs to work with.
In a shocking comeback which actually doesn’t reach that far back in the history books, Auburn stunned, shocked and staggered Jacksonville State Tuesday night 12-8, after the host Gamecocks led comfortably 8-0 in the eighth inning.
“This is a special, special night for us,” said Auburn coach John Pawlowski, celebrating his 500th coaching victory. “We were not a very good baseball team for a major part of the night but fortunately for us, the will to win and they just kept battling and grinding out at-bat after at-bat. What an inning. I am going to remember this for a long, long time.”
Auburn’s used to rallying – this was its 19th come-from-behind win of the year out of 28. But this took it to a whole new level, facing six different Jacksonville State pitchers in the eighth.
Junior shortstop Dan Glevenyak knocked not one, but two 3-run home runs out of the yard in the same inning – a 12-run outpouring, the first time in four years Auburn has scored 10 or more runs in one frame. The Tigers hadn’t put up a 12-spot since 2000.
“I got more focused in the box and calmed myself down,” said Glevenyak, a .219 hitter who hadn’t homered this year entering the evening. “I had a nine-pitch at bat, I fouled pitches off, and then I got a good pitch to hit and put a simple swing on it and it went out.”
Cullen Wacker, who had four hits, smacked a two-run double to tie the game at 8. Three batters latter, Glevenyak’s second 3-run round-tripper put it out of reach.
The comeback is the Tigers’ largest since toppling Mississippi State 16-14 on May 8, 2010 – a game the Bulldogs led 9-0.
“That was an unbelievable inning. We were trying to get people motivated, get people excited in the dugout,” Pawlowski said. “The next thing you know we get a couple of base hits and the whole momentum and mindset in our dugout changed. This game is clearly about momentum and that inning we were clearly as good as we have been in a long time.”
Auburn improbably improves to 28-19, returning home Wednesday at 6 p.m. CT to face Samford. After the Tigers head to Florida for the weekend, Jacksonville State (27-22) gets a shot at revenge May 14 at Plainsman Park, in Auburn’s final non-conference tilt of the year.