Varnadore Pitches Gem In 2-0 Auburn Win

Auburn's Derek Varnadore pitched a two-hit shutout in a 2-0 Tiger win against Radford on Sunday.

Auburn, Ala.--Last Sunday Auburn junior pitcher Derek Varnadore was very good in a win over UAB. This time around he was nearly perfect as he allowed just two hits and struck out 13 in a complete game 2-0 win over Radford at Plainsman Park that took just two hours and four minutes.

Throwing just 105 pitches in the win, the Athens, Ga., native didn't allow a hit until the sixth inning and has now allowed just five hits and struck out 17 in 16 innings this season. He said for him it's still a dream to think about how things have gone so far in 2011.

"That was one of the most fun games I've ever played in," Varnadore said. "Everything was working for me today. Tony (Caldwell) was back there framing everything up real nice. The defense played great once again. It was fun."

In just his second career outing for the Tigers, Varnadore's 13 strikeouts were the most for an Auburn pitcher since Chris Bootcheck struck out 15 against West Virginia in 1999 in Montgomery. Coming out firing in the first inning with a strikeout of the first Radford batter on three pitches and needing just 35 pitches in the first three innings, Varnadore's start set the table according to coach John Pawlowski.

"He was outstanding," Pawlowski said. "That's probably as good of a pitching performance from innings one through nine that I've seen in a long time. He was in complete command. The biggest thing was he had command of his fastball. I thought he did an outstanding job. When we're struggling to score runs we needed that type of performance."

Offensively the struggles continue for the Tigers as they finished with just six hits in scoring two runs. First baseman Kevin Patterson had two doubles to lead Auburn's offense and scored a run along with Creede Simpson. The senior said right now they're still trying to figure out the new bats and the kind of offensive outing it takes to get the job done.

"This season so far the ball is really not jumping," Patterson said. "We've just got to find ways to win and get guys on base and get them in somehow. We had some opportunities to drive more guys in. Varnadore did a heck of a job. That's all there was to that game."

Kevin Patterson belts one of his two doubles

Auburn got on top early with a run in the top of the first. Following a one out walk to Simpson, shortstop Casey McElroy doubled to right field to send the speedy Simpson on his way. He easily scored to put the Tigers up 1-0.

Patterson led off the second with the first of his two doubles, a sharp liner to right field. Playing third base, senior Wes Gilmer then moved him to third with a perfect bunt that scooted past pitcher Bobby Bolling for a base hit. Starting in left field, junior college transfer Cullen Wacker's fly ball to center field easily scored Patterson for the two-run Auburn lead.

The Tigers had two more solid chances to score runs later in the game as they got a runner to third base two different times with one out. On both occasions a ground ball to Radford first baseman Matt Mack with the infield drawn in kept Auburn off the scoreboard.

Offensively Justin Hargett was 1-4 to extend his hitting streak to seven games this season while McElroy and Wacker had Auburn's other hits for the game. Mack and Cory Turner had the only singles for Radford in the game.

Auburn returns to action this week for a two-game series against Bethune Cookman at Plainsman Park. Game times are 6 p.m. on Tuesday and 4 p.m. on Wednesday.

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