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Former Golden Tiger baseball stars help Auburn rally past MSU

Former Russellville baseball stars Cody Greenhill and Judd Ward were front and center on Sunday at Auburn’s Plainsman Park, helping the Tigers beat Mississippi State 7-5 in the decisive third game of a weekend series.

Ward, a 2017 graduate of Russellville High School, split time between left field and center field on Sunday, finishing 2-for-4. The 6’1, 195-pound freshman delivered an RBI triple and then scored a run to cap off a seven-run rally by Auburn in the bottom of the sixth that put the Tigers on top for good.

Greenhill, also a true freshman, continued his outstanding debut season on Sunday afternoon, working 4.1 innings in relief of former Decatur High School standout Tanner Burns. Greenhill (2-1) earned the win, holding the Bulldogs to two earned runs on five hits while striking out five. He threw 54 of his 78 pitches for strikes and did not issue a walk.

Through Sunday, Greenhill had made 10 appearances (all in relief) for Auburn and was leading the staff with a 1.42 ERA. Despite missing a significant chunk of the season while recovering from a bout with mono, the 6’4, 216-pound righthander was second on the team with three saves and fifth with 25.1 innings pitched. He had struck out 27 and walked nine while allowing 19 hits and holding opposing batters to a .202 average.

Ward, meanwhile, had played in 15 games through Sunday for the Tigers (25-12, 6-9 SEC), making seven starts. The sweet-swinging lefty was batting .345 (10-for-29) with two doubles, five RBIs, five run scored and a .406 OBP. He had also played errorless ball in the outfield, posting a perfect 1.000 fielding percentage on the season.

Auburn was scheduled to host UAB in a single game on Tuesday evening and will travel to Tuscaloosa for a three-game series with rival Alabama this weekend.

Ward and Greenhill were both three-time All-State selections by the Alabama Sports Writers and three-time state champions at Russellville, helping the Golden Tigers win Class 5A titles in 2015, 2016 and 2017.

Ward was chosen as Class 5A Player of the Year as a junior in 2016 and finished his Russellville career batting .467 with 207 hits, 10 home runs, 18 triples, 43 doubles, 114 RBIs, 189 runs scored and 63 multi-hit games in three seasons at the varsity level.

Greenhill, the Class 5A Player of the Year as a senior in 2017, finished his four-year varsity career at Russellville with a 39-9 record and a 1.33 ERA. He ranks among the state’s all-time leaders in wins and strikeouts (375 in 305.1 innings). In 15 career playoff starts, he was 13-1 with a 1.48 ERA, nine complete games and 99 strikeouts in 84.2 innings.

Greenhill also set a single-season school record for hitters with 16 home runs as a senior in 2017.

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