Georgia Tech

Auburn stuns Georgia Tech with late-game homer to clinch win in NCAA Atlanta Regional

It doesn’t matter that Steven Williams didn’t come close to getting on base for his first three at-bats. He will only be remembered by what he did in the ninth inning.

The sophomore right fielder from Albany hit a three-run homer with two outs in the ninth inning and the Tigers stunned No. 3 Georgia Tech 6-5 in the NCAA Atlanta Regional at Russ Chandler Stadium.

Williams connected against Georgia Tech ace Connor Thomas for a long homer that was never in doubt from the moment it left the bat. It was the eighth homer of the season for Williams, who now has four homers and 15 RBI in six NCAA playoff games. He was 4-for-5 with five RBI on Saturday against Coastal Carolina.

Auburn (35-25) awaits the winner of Sunday’s elimination game between Georgia Tech (42-18) and Coastal Carolina (36-25-1), who play at noon. The winner of that game will meet Auburn at 7 p.m. The Tigers need one more victory to earn a trip to the Super Regional round.

Thomas was one out away from securing his third complete-game victory of the season. He took a 5-2 lead into the ninth, but the first two runners reached on an error and a hit batsman. Thomas retired catcher Matt Scheffler on an easy fly to right and struck out Edouard Julien.

Rankin Woley drove in a run with a single to left, but Thomas remained in the game to face the lefty-hitting Williams, who deposited a pitch in the pine trees beyond the fence and set off a raucous celebration for the Tigers.

Thomas allowed six runs, but only one was earned, on 11 hits. He struck out six. He got great support from his defense, which turned four double plays.

Georgia Tech’s offense was led by first baseman Tristin English. He went 3-for-3 with a double and was hit by a pitch. He is 7-for-7 in the two playoff games.

Georgia Tech took control in the second inning when it put four runs on the board, with a little help from Auburn and little bit of luck. With runners on first and second, Austin Wilhite hit a fly to right field that Steven Williams seemed to lose in the sun. He lunged backwards at the last second and the ball popped out of his glove for an error, allowing a run to score.

After Jackson Webb’s sacrifice fly to center field, Nick Wilhite hit a liner that bounced off the foot of Auburn pitcher Tanner Burns and ricocheted into left field for an RBI. Luke Waddell followed with a double off the wall in right-center field.