Auburn knocks off No. 2 Florida
Simpson scores winning run, tallies final out for Tigers
AUBURN, Ala. -- Auburn's senior class would not be denied in its final regular season game at Plainsman Park as the baseball team pulled out a 5-4 win against No. 2 Florida on Saturday. The win upped Auburn's record to 30-26, 13-17 SEC while Florida dropped to 40-16, 18-12 SEC.
Derek Varnadore (4-7) logged seven full innings in his first start since April 20, allowing four runs (three earned) on 10 hits and two walks while striking out three. The righty was tagged for three runs in the second and an unearned run in the fourth but was helped out when the Auburn defense turned double plays in the sixth and seventh innings.
Justin Bryant followed Varnadore and picked up his sixth save of the season with two shutout innings and also drove in the winning run in the seventh before his trip to the mound. Facing Florida closer Austin Maddox with two in scoring position and two out, Bryant hit a hard single back up the middle that Florida second baseman Casey Turgeon dove for and stopped from going into the outfield. However, in Turgeon's effort to get Bryant at first, Creede Simpson, who was on second, never hesitated in rounding third, scoring what proved to be the winning run on the play.
Simpson also had the game-ending play, throwing a strike to Bowen behind the plate after a Brian Johnson fly out to right to nail Preston Tucker trying to score from third. Simpson, who started all 56 games at second, was moved to right in the top of the third after everyday right fielder Jay Gonzalez left with a sprained thumb following a diving attempt on a Florida double earlier in the game.
Simpson finished the game 0-for-4 with a run and a RBI while Bryant was 1-for-4 with a pair of RBIs.
Steven Rodriguez (3-2) took the loss for Florida, getting charged for all three of Auburn's runs in the seventh.
Florida went single, double, triple in the second by Johnson, Daniel Pigott and Turgeon to go up two and then had a bases loaded, run-scoring double play to take a 3-0 lead in the second.
Auburn answered with single runs in the second and third as Zach Alvord doubled in Patrick Savage in the second and Tanner Cimo, inserted at second after Simpson went to right, walked and scored on an error to make it a 3-2 game after three.
Florida regained a two-run lead, 4-2 in the fourth as Tobias singled and scored on a Tucker single.
The game remained a two-run Florida advantage until the seventh when Alvord and Self both singled to start the inning. A Simpson fielder's choice made it a one-run game before Bryant's two-out hit gave Auburn the lead.