March 16, 2003
Auburn, Ala. - Clete Thomas' RBI single in the bottom of the ninth capped a two-run rally as the No. 10 Auburn Tigers defeated the Tennessee Volunteers, 3-2, for the series win at Hitchcock Field.
Auburn (18-5, 2-1 SEC) loaded the bases on back-to-back singles by Josh Bell and Karl Amonite before Scott Schade was intentionally walked. Pinch runner Doug Vines then scored the tying run on Derek Sain's sacrifice fly before Thomas' two-out single to left.
Tennessee starting pitcher Derek Tharpe continued his mastery over the Tigers as he pitched seven strong innings for Tennessee, which fell to 11-7 overall and 1-2 in league play.
Tharpe, who earned a win over the Tigers while pitching at Samford last year, scattered six hits this time out, yielding only a solo home run by Javon Moran that tied the game in the third at 1-1.
After Moran's first home run of the season that cleared just inside the left field foul pole, Brian Cleveland scored on a perfectly executed sacrifice bunt by Nick Crowe as Tennessee retook the lead at 2-1 in the seventh. Cleveland started the frame by singling to right center and taking third on pinch hitter Alex Suarez's base hit to right.
Arnold Hughey threw seven innings for Auburn, allowing two runs on 10 hits, but it was Steven Register (2-1) picking up the win in two innings of shutout relief, striking out four.
Dusty Johnson (2-1), one of three Vol relievers, was saddled with the loss.
Tennessee returns home for a five-game home stand beginning with Purdue on Wednesday at 3 p.m. ET.