In what has become an all-too-familiar theme for Auburn (15-14), the Tigers missed early opportunities to put Troy in a hole and then couldn't make pitches or plays with two outs to get out of trouble. Coach John Pawlowski said it was another tough one to deal with for him and his team.
"I'm just really disappointed," Pawlowski said. "These guys have worked hard and you want to see them come out and play a good baseball game and a competitive game. I thought they jumped us pretty good. We had some chances early. It kind of seems like the same story.
"We have to find a way to keep our heads up and keep playing hard. I still believe there are better days ahead for this team. I told the guys there is nowhere to go but up. We've struggled and haven't done the things we need to do to win games. Now we've got to continue to work. It's tough to see if for these guys."
A statistic that is just hard to believe, the 13 runs scored by Troy with two outs makes 49 runs given up by Auburn pitching with two outs in the last eight games. Allowing over six runs per game alone with two outs makes it difficult to win, as the Tigers found out again on Tuesday.
There wasn't much positive for the Tigers on Tuesday, but one of those was the hitting of senior Kevin Patterson. Struggling coming into the game and not in the lineup, he came in to get two hits including a three-run homer. Another positive was the pitching of freshman Will Kendall, allowing just two unearned runs in three and one/third innings.
"I thought he did a good job," Pawlowski said of Kendall. "They scored late off him, but it's very encouraging. He's got the ability. Maybe we can continue to get him in there and give him some innings."
The game started the way many of Auburn's most recent games has, with the Tigers playing solid baseball but having nothing to show for it. Auburn stranded runners in scoring position in both the first and second innings before getting a Justin Fradejas single to start the third.
He was quickly erased on a fielder's choice off the bat of Bobby Andrews and when Andrews was caught stealing it looked like another chance was gone for the Tigers. However Tony Caldwell and Dan Gamache both singled to bring Casey McElroy to the plate. He was unable to get the job done though as his groundout ended the Auburn threat.
Troy didn't miss its opportunity in the bottom of the third against Auburn starter Will Irvin and it came with two outs and nobody on. Getting a double from Tyler Hannah to start a rally, the Trojans would get six consecutive hits to score five runs before the inning was done. The big blow came on an RBI triple from Todd McRae.
Coming on to finish off the third, reliever Slade Smith wouldn't make it out of the fourth as Troy again came up big with two outs. Pinch hitter Tyler Workman's infield single got the Trojans started and Blake Martz singled to bring Logan Pierce to the plate. Slicing a double to left field, Pierce drove home two more runs to make it 7-0 Troy going to the fifth.
Auburn got one run back in the fifth as Zach Alvord walked, moved to second on a sacrifice bunt, advanced to third on Andrews' second hit of the game, and scored on a Dan Gamache single.
The Trojans blew the game open in the bottom of the fifth as a Creede Simpson error allowed a run to score for an 8-1 Troy advantage before Pierce delivered the death blow off Jay Wade with a two-out grand slam over the wall in right field.
After Auburn missed a golden opportunity in the sixth, loading the bases with one out but failing to score, the Tigers finally got some offense going in the seventh as Blake Austin and Justin Hargett singled to bring Patterson to the plate. Turning on a breaking ball, Patterson launched his fourth homer of the year to make it 12-4 Troy.
Two more runs for the Trojans in the eighth inning gave Troy and 10-run cushion. A Patterson double and a Brooks Beisner two-run home run made the final 14-6 Trojans.
Auburn returns to action this weekend when the Tigers travel to Kentucky to face the Wildcats in a three-game series.