Caldwell's Blast Propels Tigers To Victory

Auburn improved to 3-1 with a 9-4 win over Jacksonville State on Tuesday.

Auburn, Ala.--After failing to homer all weekend the Auburn Tigers wasted little time in doing away with that stay on Tuesday as senior catcher Tony Caldwell's first inning grand slam propelled coach John Pawlowski's club to a 9-4 win over Jacksonville State at Plainsman Park. The win improves Auburn to 3-1 on the early season.

Reliever Jon Luke Jacobs earned the win, allowing just a pair of hits and no walks in four and two/thirds innings. It was Jacobs' first win since March 29, 2009 at Vanderbilt. He came on in relief of starter Will Irvin. Making his first appearance, the junior college transfer allowed four runs in the fifth before giving way to Jacobs.

The story for the day was the Auburn offense however led by Caldwell's first inning blast.

"We had a chance to score some runs in the first inning and Tony Caldwell really picked us up with our first home run," Pawlowski said. "That really got us going. Jacksonville State is not going to go away. We were fortunate to put some runs up late and open it up a little bit."

Creede Simpson bunts for one of his three hits.

Struggling to get going in the first weekend of play for the Tigers, Caldwell put a good swing on a pitch for Auburn's first long ball of the season. It was his first grand slam at Auburn and gave the Tigers some breathing room to play with.

That would be important as Jacksonville State hung tough until Auburn could put the game away late. After loading the bases in the first and leaving two runners on the in the second, the Gamecocks finally got to Irvin in the fifth but not before the Tigers would extend the lead to 6-0.

In the second Creede Simpson doubled in a run, one of his three hits on the day that included two bunt singles. In the third inning a throwing error by the Gamecocks with two outs and a man on third allowed the Tigers to score the sixth run of the game.

Starting the fifth off by walking the JSU leadoff man, Irvin allowed a pair of singles and a pair of doubles to the Gamecocks before Jacobs came on to get the final two outs of the inning. From that point forward the junior cruised as he carried the Tigers home in a big confidence builder for the former weekend starter.

"It felt good just to get back out there coming off of last season which was a little tough for me," Jacobs said. "I was feeding off the guys in the dugout and I was feeling good. Having good stuff today really helped."

With the Gamecocks stymied by Jacobs the Auburn offense put the game away in the eighth inning on a two-run double from Dan Gamache and a RBI single by defensive replacement Wes Gilmer.

In addition to Simpson's three hits senior Kevin Patterson and junior Casey McElroy both added a pair of hits for the Tigers. In all Auburn pounded out 14 hits against the Gamecocks including six doubles.

Auburn returns to action this weekend as Radford comes to Plainsman Park for a three-game series. Game times are scheduled for 3 p.m. on both Friday and Saturday and 1 p.m. on Sunday.

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