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Auburn’s bats wake up as it bounces Stanford from CWS | Sports

OMAHA, Neb. — Cole Foster’s three-run double in the sixth inning gave Auburn the lead, and the Tigers beat No. 2 national seed Stanford 6-2 in a College World Series elimination game for their first win in Omaha in 25 years.

The Tigers (44-21) will play Tuesday against the loser of Monday night’s game between Arkansas and Mississippi.

Stanford (47-18) concluded a short, disappointing stay in Omaha. The Cardinal lost their opener against Arkansas 17-2 — the most lopsided game here in 34 years — and then did next to nothing after taking an early lead against Auburn.

Stanford, which staved off elimination five times in its regional and super regional, went 0-2 in a CWS for the first time in 18 appearances.

Trace Bright (5-4) went five innings for the win and Blake Burkhalter, the Tigers’ star closer, struck out six of the eight batters he faced for his 16th save.

Auburn had been 0-3 in the CWS since beating Rice 10-1 in 1997.

“It’s important for us as we continue to try to build our program and build a brand of respectability, sincere respectability,” Tigers coach Butch Thompson said. “So it is a big deal and it gives us a chance to compete again.”

The Tigers, who lost 5-1 to Mississippi on Saturday, had managed one run and seven hits in 14 innings before breaking out in the sixth against the Cardinal.

Foster, who doubled twice, was back in the lineup after leaving in the middle of Saturday’s game because of illness and dehydration. Thompson said seven or eight of his players have had a stomach virus and that Foster was getting intravenous fluids after the game.

Stanford starter Drew Dowd, who struggled with his fastball command his last few appearances, was dialed in through the first four innings. But he gave up Brooks Carlson’s double leading off the fifth and walked Foster on four pitches to bring on Quinn Mathews (9-2).

Mathews got Stanford out of the inning but ran into trouble in the sixth, giving up two singles, hitting a batter and issuing a walk before Foster’s bases-clearing double off the wall in left center put the Tigers up 4-2. Auburn added two more in the seventh.

“When Cole hit the ball,” Thompson said, “that was a big exhale for our offense.”

Tim Elko and Calvin Harris homered, Hunter Elliott pitched effectively into the seventh inning, and Mississippi defeated to move within one win of the College World Series finals.

The Rebels (39-22) have won seven straight in the NCAA Tournament after being the final team awarded an at-large bid.

“Getting hot is real,” coach Mike Bianco said. “As a coach, you just let them go.”

Ole Miss will play Wednesday against the winner of Tuesday’s elimination game between Arkansas (44-20) and Auburn. All three remaining teams in Bracket 2 are from the Southeastern Conference West Division.

The Rebels, in the CWS for the sixth time, would have to lose Wednesday and again Thursday to not reach their first finals.

“We’re a great team and we knew that from the start,” leadoff batter Justin Bench said. “We had a rough patch in middle of the season where we were 7-14. I don’t know how many games in a row we’ve won now, but with the leadership of Tim Elko we stuck together and won games.”

Elko put Ole Miss up 4-1 in the second inning when he launched Evan Taylor’s high fastball 416 feet into the left-field seats for his 23rd homer.

Harris, the Rebels’ No. 9 batter, hit a two-run double in the third and his two-run homer in a four-run fifth. It was Harris’ second homer of the season and first since March 29. Harris went 3 for 4 and is hitting .476 (10 of 21) in the tournament.

Arkansas starter Zack Morris (6-1) faced seven batters and got only two outs.

Arkansas won two of three at home against Ole Miss in the regular season. The teams have met 107 times, but this was the first time they were matched in the CWS.



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