Tigers Salvage Split With Wildcats

The Auburn baseball bounced back in game two on Saturday to defeat eighth-ranked Arizona.

Tucson, Ariz.--In Auburn's second doubleheader in the first two weeks of the baseball season, the Tigers split games with No. 8 Arizona on Saturday to avoid the sweep in a three-game series. Arizona won game one 15-4 on Saturday and Auburn took game two 8-3.

"They beat us pretty good in the first two games and after the first game today we talked about we needed to come out and play with a little pride and a sense of urgency," said Auburn head coach John Pawlowski.

In game one, Slade Smith took the loss for Auburn (4-4), throwing 2 2/3 innings allowing seven hits and seven earned runs. He also walked one and struck out two.

Arizona (5-2) scored first in the game, wasting no time in the opening inning as Joey Rickard singled to start the Wildcats' inning. After stealing second and advancing to third on a groundout, Robert Refsnyder tripled down the right field line. He scored on a groundout to second base by Johnny Field, giving Arizona a 2-0 lead.

Auburn responded in the top of the second, cutting the deficit in half. After Creede Simpson was walked, Garrett Cooper was hit by a pinch and Cullen Wacker reached on a bunt single, Zach Alvord reached first on a fielder's choice, which scored Simpson.

After the first six batters reached base safely for Arizona in the third inning, which featured four stolen bases, the Wildcats scored five runs before Zach Blatt relieved Smith of his duties and got the Tigers out of the inning.

Auburn attempted a comeback, scoring one in the fourth. With Cooper on second, after reaching on an error, and a single by Cullen Wacker, Caleb Bowen doubled down the right field line, scoring Cooper.

Arizona continued pouring on runs in the fifth. With the bases loaded and one out, Field singled to right field, scoring two runners. After a sacrifice fly, Arizona had a 10-2 lead going into the sixth.

Neither team scored until the eighth inning when Arizona put five more on the scoreboard.

Alex Mejia hit a two-run homerun with one out causing Pawlowski to call in Ethan Wallen. After a dropped fly ball by Ryan Tella with a man on first, which would have ended the inning, Arizona added three more runs, all unearned.

Cody Ortman hit a two-run homerun in the ninth for Auburn to bring the final to 15-4.

Wade Konner got the win for the Wildcats after a 6 2/3 innings performance, allowing seven hits and one earned run. He also struck out 10.

While Arizona totaled 17 hits, Auburn had only eight while striking out 11 times. The Wildcats also committed four errors.

Auburn had a major turnaround in game two, backed by the arm of freshman lefty Daniel Koger. He earned the win, throwing six innings, allowing two hits and striking out three.

"I tried to work my fastball and work my change-up a little bit and let them put the ball in play," Koger said. "The big key was when they put the ball in play they were ground balls and our team made the plays for the most part."

The Tigers took a 2-0 lead in the first after Simpson singled and stole second with one out. After Ryan Tella singled and advanced on the throw, Simpson scored on a balk call. Cooper then singled home Tella.

Auburn doubled its lead in the top of the second, continuing to play the small ball Pawlowski has pushed for all year.

Dan Glevenyak doubled to start the inning. After a sacrifice bunt by Zach Alvord, Blake Austin singled, scoring Glevenyak. Austin was scored by Tella, who singled, after stealing third.

Arizona pitcher James Farris, who took the loss after throwing 3 1/3 innings and allowing seven hits and five earned runs, was pulled in the fourth as Auburn added to its lead.

Austin tripled to left center with one out before Simpson scored him on a groundout. However, Austin didn't stop there.

The next inning Austin hit a single with runners on first and third, which was Auburn's second run that inning, making the score 7-0.

"Blake Austin did a really good job behind the plate and came up with three hits today," Pawlowski said.

Auburn added another insurance run in the seventh after Glevenyak's triple led to a run before Arizona's chance to comeback began.

Jay Wade relieved Koger, but only for one-third of an inning. In his short outing, Wade allowed two hits and three earned runs.

After a walk and a single, Bobby Brown tripled to right field. After Justin Bryant replaced Wade on the hill, Rickard reached on an error, scoring Brown. Bryant ended the inning with two strikeouts.

However, the Wildcats' comeback came up short as Auburn won the finale, avoiding the sweep, with an 8-3 win.

Auburn returns in action next against Alabama State Tuesday at Plainsman Park at 5 p.m.

Box Score, Game One

Box Score, Game Two

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