Complete effort leads Auburn past South Alabama, 6-1

BASEBALL

Complete effort leads Auburn past South Alabama, 6-1

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From the Auburn University Athletics Department:

AUBURN, Ala. – Auburn strung together three straight doubles to take the lead in the fifth inning, and the Tigers' pitching and defense was strong throughout a 6-1 win over South Alabama Tuesday night at Plainsman Park.

The Tigers (23-19) played their third error-free game in the last four outings, and the Auburn pitching staff allowed just six base runners for the Jaguars (17-23), with the bullpen pitching 4.2 hitless, scoreless innings of relief.

"The three doubles in a row were really big," Auburn head coach Sunny Golloway said. "We haven't strung extra-base hits together like that all year, so that was really big for us. That's one of the things Coach (Greg) Norton has been stressing to our guys is to get in a position where we can really drive the baseball. ... Our guys were good in the dugout. We understand that some things are going to happen, but they just stayed the course. They're trying to teach each other to do the little things. If we pitch and play defense, we'll be in every game.

"I'm proud of this bunch. That's seven games in a row where we've really played good. We haven't won, I understand that, we've got to win, we've got to learn how to win, but we played some good, solid baseball games. Our pitching has kept us in games, and our defense has been outstanding."

Jay Wade (4-2) picked up the win in relief as he retired all eight batters he faced in 2.2 innings of work, striking out a pair. Trey Cochran-Gill and Terrance Dedrick pitched the eighth and ninth, respectively, and held the Jaguars to a single base runner.

Junior Daniel Koger put together a solid start, allowing just a first-inning run on four hits while striking out a season-high five batters, but left before the Tigers could provide any run support in a season-long 4.1 innings.

Auburn pounded out 11 hits with four players accounting for two apiece. Blake Logan was 2-for-2 off the bench with a pair of RBI, while Blake Austin, Keegan Thompson and Jordan Ebert recorded two hits apiece.

"We've got some guys that are pretty hot right now, doing a good job," Golloway said. "Blake Austin stands out right now. Even when he gets out, he's hitting the ball hard."

The Jaguars jumped out to a 1-0 lead in the first inning after Davis Knapp led off the game with a double, took third on a groundout and scored on a wild pitch. But that would be all the offense the Jaguars could manage on the night.

Auburn had its chances, stranding six runners through the first four innings, but finally put together a big inning in the fifth to take a 3-1 lead. After Damon Haecker had walked, stole second and took third on a wild pitch, the Tigers strung together three straight two-out RBI doubles. Austin ripped one into the left-center field gap to score Haecker and tie the game, and Thompson followed with a double to the wall in left to bring home Austin. It would be 3-1 after Logan delivered a pinch-hit double down the right-field line, scoring Thompson.

The Tigers added two more in the sixth. An RBI bloop single by Damek Tomscha over a drawn-in South Alabama infield scored Ryan Tella from third after he had advanced two bases on a wild pickoff attempt. It would be 5-1 after a Blake Logan RBI single scored Tomscha from second.

A pair of singles, a double play and a wild pitch gave Auburn its sixth run in the seventh inning as Jordan Ebert scored from third with two out.

The Tigers will return to Southeastern Conference play this weekend with a three-game series at Arkansas. Game times are set for 6:35 p.m., 6:05 p.m. and 1:05 p.m. at Baum Stadium in Fayetteville.

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