Hot Start Propels Tigers Over Bethune Cookman

Auburn cruised to a 9-2 win over Bethune Cookman Tuesday night.

Auburn, Ala.--Auburn scored nine runs in the first three innings and made it stand up as the Tigers defeated Bethune Cookman 9-2 Tuesday night in front of 1,965 fans at Plainsman Park. Senior Wes Gilmer had two hits and three RBI to lead an offense that pounded out 15 hits in the win.

On the mound starter Will Irvin got his first career win, allowing just one run on five hits in five innings. Relievers Dillon Ortman and Bradley Hendrix each pitched two innings to finish off the victory for Auburn. The Tigers improve to 6-2 on the season while Bethune Cookman falls to 4-5.

"I thought the big thing was we had really good at-bats early in the game," Auburn coach John Pawlowski said. "We scored nine runs in the first three innings. We were fortunate to put some quality runs on the board.

"I thought those guys were all competitive on the mound," he added of the pitching. "We walked a few too many guys but it was important for Bradley and Dillon to get back out there and show what they could do. These guys are all fighting for innings and playing time. Every inning and every at-bat, every defensive play is an important opportunity for each one of these guys."

Will Irvin got his first win at Auburn.

Gilmer was one of five Tigers to finish with two hits as Casey McElroy, Tony Caldwell, Dan Gamache and Justin Fradejas had 10 of Auburn's hits on the night. Upping his average to .461 with his big night, Gilmer said he's just enjoying his role as an everyday player at the moment.

"It's a lot of fun," Gilmer said. "I'm glad I have gotten the opportunity to do it and I've been doing it for the past few games. Hopefully I can stay in there because I'm enjoying it."

The Tigers wasted little time in jumping on top of the Wildcats early in this cat fight with four runs in the first inning. With one out center fielder Creede Simpson walked and moved to third on a single by McElroy. That brought catcher Caldwell to the plate. Getting a pitch away, the senior drove the ball deep to right field just in front of the Tim Hudson mural on the wall for a double.

Simpson scored easily and it left runners on second and third for Gamache. A walk loaded the bases for senior Kevin Patterson and his ground ball to the right side scored the run for the 2-0 lead. That brought Gilmer up and he delivered with a single to right. The hit scored both runners for the four-run lead.

Building on its lead, Auburn added four more runs in the second inning and again it started with one out. A McElroy single started a run of five consecutive singles by the Tigers with the final three scoring runs, the last by Gilmer. Later a Fradejas single to center field scored Patterson for the 8-0 Auburn advantage.

Coach John Pawlowski shows off Auburn's newest hat that the Tigers wore on Tuesday

The lead built to nine in the third on a Gamache double that scored Caldwell. It was Auburn's 11th hit of the game and gave Irvin a cushion to work with on the mound.

He made things stand up with a solid outing, not allowing a run until the fourth inning. With one out the junior walked designated hitter Ryan Durrence. After getting the second out of the inning Nick Johnson and Brashad Johnson had back to back singles to break up the shutout.

He would last through the fifth inning before Ortman came on in relief. He allowed a single run in the sixth and that would be all for the Wildcats on this night as Hendrix didn't allow a hit and walked one in two innings.

The only downside for the Tigers was five consecutive scoreless innings to close out Tuesday's game and just four hits over that span. Reliever Joey Munoz did a great job of shutting down Auburn's hitters and Pawlowski said that's something they've got to work to improve.

"It's a concern," Pawlowski said. "They brought in that lefty and I thought he did a really good job for them. I thought we didn't have as many quality at-bats after that. It was a concern. I don't want this team to score that much and put it in cruise control. We've got to keep the pressure on the whole game."

Auburn will send junior Jon Luke Jacobs to the mound on Wednesday for the 4 p.m. start. This season Jacobs is 1-0 with a 0.00 ERA in four and two/thirds innings.

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