Charleston powers past Auburn

It was Ervin Roper’s day. The College of Charleston catcher sent a two-out pitch over the right field fence in the 11-th inning Thursday, giving the Cougars a 7-6 victory over Auburn in the Tallahassee NCAA Baseball Regional.

 Ervin RoperHe’s definitely the player of the day,” said Cougar second baseman Blake Butler about Roper’s 4th home run of the season.  Roper’s blast traveled 330 feet, cleared a 30-foot high fence and was his second hit tie-breaking hit of the day. Charleston will face the winner of the Florida State Mercer game Saturday.

“Catchers work harder than anyone else on the field and to see him be in that moment and be successful is exciting,” Butler said of Roper’s 3 RBI performance.

Auburn had scratched and clawed all afternoon, coming from behind to tie the game in the third, sixth and seventh innings before losing in the 11th.

Tiger starter Cole Lipscomb worked into the sixth, giving up five hits, three of them home runs, before Roper chased him from the mound with a two run single.

baseball fieldWe will respond – it’s very doable, said Auburn head coach Sunny Galloway. “But it’s an all pitchers on deck type of mentality . . we need to keep the ball down.”

 Auburn, the number 3-seed in the Tallahassee Regional stitched together an error, double, infield hit and a balk to take the lead in the sixth. But Roper drilled a two-run single in the bottom of the inning to put the Cougars back up on top. In the 7th, Charleston misplayed an infield pop up that Jackson Burgreen turned into a triple. The play ignited a two-run rally in which Auburn once again tied the game.

 “We’re going to talk about that,” said Charleston coach, Monte Lee. “The wind was blowing in, a little but you have to make that play.”

Auburn heads into the loser bracket of the double elimination tournament and will play noon Saturday against the loser of the FSU/Mercer game. If the Tigers are to advance to the Gainesville Super Regional they will have to win four games over the next three days.

”Virginia lost the first game and came back to win four straight to win that Regional in 2012, so it’s very doable,” said Galloway. “But it’s going to be tough.”

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