Baseball Tigers Too Much for Alabama State

The Auburn baseball team takes the first game of the series vs. Alabama State Tuesday night at Plainsman Park.

Auburn, Ala.-- Jon Luke Jacobs sparked his team with a career-high 13 strikeouts to lead the Tigers to a 7-1 win over Alabama State at Plainsman Park on Tuesday night.

His previous career-best in strikeouts was nine, a mark he hit three times, most recently a 4-3 win over Georgia last May.

"I kind of gave up a few hits in the first inning, then kind of settled in, kind of got in the flow of the game," said Jacobs. "Me and Blake (catcher Blake Austin) were on the same page all night just working on fastball command and then getting the second pitch over for a strike with my breaking ball. That was huge."

In all, Jacobs gave up only three hits and one run in seven innings pitched. He improved his record to 2-0 this season and the Tigers improved to 5-4.

"He was in command all night, around the zone, pitched in the zone and out of the zone when he needed to," said Auburn coach John Pawlowski. "Some real positive things came out from his performance tonight."

Will Kendall came on in relief of Jacobs and pitched two shutout innings to secure the win for Jacobs.

"We are a work in progress, and these guys continue to learn," Pawlowski said. "I think they're understanding that in order to be the team we want to be they got to play at a high, championship level, so there is lots of work left to do."

Jay Gonzalez led the way for the Tigers at the plate, going 3-4 with two runs scored, two RBIs and a walk. Gonzalez hit two triples on the night, the first player to accomplish that feat since Dominic Rich produced two against UNC Charlotte on March 4, 2000.

"What a great night for him," said Pawlowski of Gonzalez. "I though he hit the ball hard all night and made a nice defensive play in the outfield."

Creede Simpson batted 2-4, knocking in one run and scoring two.

Auburn was a threat to steal about every time a runner was on base. The Tigers finished with seven stolen bases, with Gonzalez taking three and Simpson taking two. The Tigers left seven runners on base for the evening.

Alabama State, now 1-8 this season, got onto the board first, scoring a run in the top of the first on a single by catcher Richard Gonzalez. It was the first run given up by Jacobs this season.

Auburn answered in the bottom half with two runs. Cullen Wacker singled in Gonzalez, and Simpson scored on an infield grounder by Dan Glevenyak.

The Tigers added two more runs in the bottom of the third to build a 4-1 lead. Simpson scored on a sacrifice fly by Wacker, and Glevenyak got his second RBI of the game with a hard-hit single to right field.

With one out in the bottom of the fourth, Gonzalez hit a rope in the left field gap that he stretched into a triple. Simpson followed that with a double to left, scoring Gonzalez to give the Tigers 5-1 lead.

Gonzalez hit another triple to knock in Austin and Bobby Andrews, giving the Tigers a 7-1 lead heading into the top of the 9th.

The Tigers will face Alabama State Wednesday at 5 p.m. CST in the final game of the two-game series. Auburn now holds a 4-0 series lead against the Hornets.

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