The No. 14 Auburn Tigers battled back from an early deficit and found all the scoring they would need with a four-run sixth inning to hand a season-ending 6-2 defeat to No.2 Stanford and survive another day in the College World Series.
With two outs in the sixth and Auburn trailing 2-1, Cole Foster blasted a three-run RBI double to the fence, giving the Tigers a 4-2 lead and helping the team to its first win in the CWS since 1997.
"Winning a game here against an amazing program, it's another sense of accomplishment for our program," said Auburn coach Butch Thompson. "It's not just a win. It's important for us as we try to continue to build our program and build a brand of sincere respectability. It is a big deal."
With today’s win, Auburn has now knocked out the No. 3 national seed, Oregon State, in the Corvallis Super Regional and taken down the No. 2 national seed, Stanford, in Omaha.
The victory was also Auburn's first win versus Stanford in their five meetings at the College World Series.
Through the first five innings, the game looked to be a repeat of what happened in the Tigers' first game against Ole Miss in the CWS, with cold bats throughout the lineup. But in the sixth, the Tigers finally started to make some contact.
The scoring began when Bobby Peirce was walked with the bases-loaded. scoring Mike Bello, who had singled to start the inning, advanced to second on a Blake Rambusch single, and moved to third when Sonny DiChiara was hit by a pitch.
Then with two outs, Foster hit a double off the wall in left-center, scoring Rambusch, DiChiara and Peirce to give Auburn the 4-2 lead.
For many Auburn fans, it was a surprise to even see Foster in the game after he was forced to an early exit in the Ole Miss game due to showing symptoms of dehydration.
“You can imagine he's probably getting IVs, that's what I was told, because he should be sitting here at the table visiting with us right now,” Thompson said of Foster being absent from the post-game press conferences. “He's doing all he can. He barely pulled into second and dropped his head — one of the biggest hits of his life trying to keep his head up. He's just done an amazing job.”
Brody Moore hit a sacrifice fly to score Bryson Ware and Peirce doubled home Rambusch to put the Tigers on top 6-2 in the seventh.
Trace Bright started on the mound for the Tigers, giving up a run in the first and second innings before throwing three scoreless innings to finish out his day. With eight strikeouts, Bright set a program record for strikeouts in a CWS appearance.
"He steadied himself and went to another level in the third," Thompson said. "That's a developmental piece where I'm proud of him."
The bullpen was a dominating force again for the Tigers, as Tommy Sheehan came in relief of Bright, pitching 1.2 innings while striking out three. Closer Blake Burkhalter came on in relief, getting the Tigers out of a bases-loaded jam. He finished with five strike outs in 2.1 scoreless innings to close the game.
"It's all starting to click at the right time," said Burkhalter, who also saved the deciding game of the Corvallis Super Regional. "The mental aspect, that's been locked since postseason play and everything is starting to click on the mound."
"I knew the offense was about to heat up at some point," Bright said. "I knew they had our back. Tommy and Burky coming in after me, I knew they had the game right where they wanted it. I was happy with them finishing the game."
Auburn will now advance to play the loser of tonight’s game between Arkansas and Ole Miss. The Tigers’ game will be at 6 p.m. Tuesday.