Wright's walk-off walk: Auburn wins series opener vs. Georgia in extras

Box Score (PDF)
Jamie Holt/AU Athletics

AUBURN, Ala. – Auburn scored three runs with two outs in the ninth inning to tie the game and ultimately won the series opener on a walk-off walk in the 11th inning, defeating Georgia 7-6 Thursday night at Plainsman Park.
"I didn't ask for a lot this week," head coach Butch Thompson said. "I just asked for these guys to kind of connect with one another. I asked the guys what it really means to stay in the fight and to keep punching back. We thought we took more punches than we really delivered last week. That ninth is a good symbol of hanging around and staying in there."
The comeback win was Auburn's eighth this season, and the walk-off marked the team's third such win of the year.  
"It was pretty cool, man," Ike Irish said of the win. "I've never seen that before. At the end, we found a way to win. I think we needed that as a team. We've been down a lot all year. It just shows the type of players we have on our team. We're blue collar. We just have a lot of grit."
Trailing 6-3 with two outs and nobody on, Kason Howell started the furious ninth-inning rally with a double to left, the 60th of his career. Cole Foster was hit by a pitch, and Bryson Ware shot a two-RBI double down the first base line to bring Auburn (15-6-1, 1-3 SEC) to within one.
"That's a guy that has just had an unbelievable year to this point," Thompson said of Ware. "He didn't try to do too much. He just took what was given and shot the ball down the right field line. That shows you maturity in an at-bat and a ton of believability for how locked-in he is."
Ike Irish was intentionally walked to put two aboard, and Justin Kirby rolled over a grounder to short, but the Georgia defender threw it away at first base and the tying run came in to score.
Two innings later, Irish singled through the right side to put the winning run aboard with one out. After a foul out to first base, Cooper McMurray made his first plate appearance in three weeks and singled to right before Chris Stanfield drew a walk to load the bases. Carter Wright then stepped to the plate for the second time in as many innings and drew a four-pitch walk to end the game in dramatic fashion.
"I knew i just had to trust myself," Wright said of his game-winning at-bat. "I was looking first-pitch fastball and he didn't throw it. Once it got to 2-0, I was taking all the way."
Sophomore right hander Will Cannon (2-0, 2.29) entered a 4-3 game with nobody out in the ninth inning and allowed an inherited runner and one of his own to score. However, after Auburn extended the game with its three run ninth, Cannon retired all six batters he faced in the 10th and 11th innings to set the stage for the walk-off.
"It was tough giving up that run, especially giving up Herberholz' run," Cannon said. "When I gave up those two runs, Coach (Schoenrock) came up to me and the first thing he said was 'you're going back out there because we're going to tie this ballgame.' I got my head locked in and our offense did their job."
Making his fifth start of the season, Tommy Vail retired the first nine batters he faced with five strikeouts, but Georgia (14-8, 0-4 SEC) put its first four hitters of the fourth inning aboard and ultimately scored three runs in the frame to take the lead.
Auburn responded with doubles from Foster and Irish to get on the scoreboard in the home half of the frame, and a solo homer from Caden Green in the bottom of the fifth cut the Tigers' deficit to one. The long ball was Green's first of the season.
Georgia scored to make it a 4-2 game in the sixth, but Auburn answered immediately as Bryson Ware started the bottom of the inning with his team-best 10th homer of the season.
Christian Herberholz held the Bulldogs scoreless in the seventh and eighth innings, and the dramatic ninth and extra innings ensued.
Auburn's one through four hitters in Howell, Foster, Ware and Irish accounted for six of the team's eight hits and scored six runs while driving in four.
Game two between the Tigers and Bulldogs is scheduled for Friday at 6 p.m. CT.