May 23, 1998
TALLAHASSEE, FL — Josh Etheredge belted two of Auburn’s four home runs as the Tigers staved off elimination and exacted revenge with a 7-4 win over Rutgers at the NCAA Atlantic II baseball regional at Dick Howser Stadium.
Auburn (45-17) got 8.1 strong innings from starting pitcher Chris Bootcheck, who scattered eight hits and three runs while fanning six. Etheredge hit solo homers in the second and fifth innings, while Heath Kelly also had a solo blast and Chad Wandell added a two-run homer.
Rutgers jumped out to a 1-0 lead in the top of the first but Kelly responded with his sixth home run of the season in the bottom of the inning that tied the game. Etheredge’s second inning shot gave the Tigers the lead for good.
The Sacrlet Knights, champions of the Big East Conference, ended their season at 33-16. Rutgers had knocked off Auburn 17-15 in the opening round of the tournament.
Auburn will face Oklahoma Saturday night in an elimination game. The winner of that contest must beat Florida State twice on Sunday to advance to the College World Series.