Rocky Shuts Down Bears In Auburn Win

Auburn starter Rocky McCord picked up his second win of the season as he allowed just one run in six and two/thirds as the Tigers defeated Brown 6-3 to sweep the series.

Auburn, Ala.—Auburn sophomore pitcher Rocky McCord allowed just one run on five hits in six and two/thirds innings and struck out eight as the Tigers completed a sweep of the Brown Bears with a 6-3 win on Sunday. After struggling in his first two starts of the season, McCord has now gone back-to-back outings with impressive results for the 11-3 Tigers.

At the plate Auburn finished with just six hits against Brown, but took advantage of five walks and a pair of errors by the Bears to build a 6-1 lead before holding on in the ninth for the win. With the conference season opening next weekend against second-ranked Vanderbilt, Coach John Pawlowski says getting the sweep was big for his team in a number of ways.

"I think it's very important for this team to continue to find ways to win," Pawlowski says. "This was a pretty good team that we faced. Every one of their arms they sent out knew how to pitch. It was a challenge every day so certainly it was a very good weekend for us, especially on the defensive side."

Struggling defensively the first three weeks of the season with 19 errors in the first 12 games, Auburn made just one error over the weekend and that was one of the biggest reasons for the sweep. Sunday it was a combination of good defense and the pitching of McCord that proved to be too much for Brown.

Mixing in three different pitches for strikes, McCord's fastball was consistently in the low 90's while his breaking stuff kept the Bears off-balance until his exit in the seventh inning. He says it was fun to have command and it definitely was another step in the right direction for him.

"It felt good," McCord says. "I had good command of my curveball and my slider and really good command of my fastball. We had good defense and all around good hitting. Everything felt real good.

"It was big for me," he adds. "It's momentum going into Vandy and that will help. Last week I felt like I did good, but I didn't have feel for my pitches. This week was my best performance feel-wise."

On a beautiful Sunday afternoon at Plainsman Park, Auburn didn't waste much time getting on the board Sunday against Brown starter Kevin Carlow as senior Cullen Wacker singled with one out in the second inning and moved to second on a walk to Garrett Cooper. That brought designated hitter Patrick Savage to the plate. Getting a pitch to drive, the junior blasted a double to left field to score both runners and make it 2-0 Tigers.

With McCord cruising on the mound Auburn went back to work in the fifth inning looking to extend the lead. Leading things off, catcher Blake Austin doubled to right field and quickly moved to third on a single by freshman Jordan Ebert. That extended the hitting streak to 13 games for the second baseman and put runners on the corners for Jackson Burgreen. Delivering in the clutch, the Athens native singled to score Austin and move Ebert around to third. One batter later Ryan Tella's ground ball scored Ebert from third to give McCord a 4-0 lead to work with.

That's how things would remain until the seventh inning when McCord finally ran out of gas. Allowing a single to Will Marcal, the sophomore recovered to strike out Cody Slaughter before a wild pitch moved Marcal to second. McCord came back to sit down Wes Van Boom on strikes for his eighth of the game, but Dan Massey's single to right field pushed across Marcal to put the Bears on the scoreboard.

Back to back walks loaded the bases with two outs and sent Pawlowski to the mound as Carter came on to try to keep the lead for the Tigers. Facing center fielder John Sheridan, the Auburn High product got him to pop up to Cooper at first to end the threat and keep Auburn up 4-1.

Looking to break it open Auburn got a walk to Burgreen to start the bottom of the inning and moved to third on a perfectly executed hit and run single by Dan Glevenyak to right field. Running at first, Glevenyak stole second base and the ball bounced off the glove of shortstop J.J. Franco into right field. The error allowed Burgreen to score and Glevenyak to advance to third. A Tella fly ball easily scored Glevenyak to make it 6-1 Auburn, but things would get interesting in the ninth.

Giving up two quick singles to start the ninth, Carter was replaced by Justin Camp and the first batter he faced singled as well to load the bases with nobody out. Another infield single cut the Auburn lead to 6-2 and when Sheridan lifted a fly ball to right field to score the second run of the inning suddenly the tying run was at the plate for Brown. Camp wasn't fazed however as he clamped down to get a groundout for the second out before striking out the final hitter looking to secure the sweep.

Offensively Savage was one of six Tigers with one hit and he added a pair of RBI while Tella was 0-4, but drove in two runs for Auburn. Third baseman Damek Tomscha was hit by a pitch to extend his streak of reaching base in every game this season.

Auburn will travel to Kennesaw State on Tuesday night at 5 p.m. central time before returning home next weekend to face Vanderbilt in a three-game series at Plainsman Park. Game times for the series are 6 p.m. on Friday, 2:15 p.m. on Saturday and 1 p.m. on Sunday.

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