"Give Troy credit they played extremely well," Coach John Pawlowski says. "They did exactly what they needed to do in order to win. They took advantage of a couple of mistakes and really did a great job tonight.
"You have to play better defense," he adds about his team. "We had a chance to get out of an inning and we didn't handle the ball and consequently put ourselves in real tough spots. It was just a poor performance. Give Troy credit because they did a great job, but on our side it was just very disappointing. We have a lot of work to do and we know that. They know the things we have to do to get better and we've got to get better."
While the defensive mistakes stood out like a sore thumb, the problems at the plate continue to stifle the Tigers. Getting just eight hits on the night with three coming from Garrett Cooper and two from Jordan Ebert, Auburn had six players strike out at least twice against the Trojans. That's something that can't happen if you expect to win games down the stretch.
Auburn got off to a very good start in the first inning thanks to the freshman Ebert. Hitting second in the order and making his first start as the designated hitter, Ebert got a pitch to drive and didn't miss it as he mashed his second home run of the season to center field. Staked to an early 1-0 lead, Tigers' starter Trey Wingenter couldn't make it stand up.
The problems started right away for the big freshman as he walked the leadoff man and allowed a one-out single to put a pair of runners on base for the Trojans. Recovering to get out number two on a fly ball that put runners on the corners, Wingenter allowed back-to-back singles to Matthew Howard and Garrett Pitts to score a pair of runs and give Troy a 2-1 lead.
The Tigers tied things up in the third inning as right fielder Hunter Kelley singled with one out and advanced to second on a wild pitch. Moving to third as Ebert reached on an error, the junior college transfer scored on a Cullen Wacker sacrifice fly to even the score at two.
That's how the score would stand in the bottom of the fifth inning when the Auburn defense fell apart to allow the Trojans to score five runs and take a commanding lead. Facing reliever Trey Cochran-Gill, Howard walked with one out to start the rally for Troy. Pitts followed with a single through the right side to put a pair of runners on for the Trojans and when Josh McDorman walked to load the bases it spelled trouble for the Tigers.
Cochran-Gill looked like he would get out of the inning as he got a tailor-made ground ball to Mitchell Self at second base. Instead of starting the double play with a throw to Dan Glevenyak at second, Self's throw sailed into left field for an error. That allowed two runs to score and put Troy up 4-2. After getting a fly ball for the second out of the inning, Tyler Vaughn reached on an infield single to push another run across and bring Logan Pierce to the plate. Lifting a fly ball to left field, Pierce raced to second as Wacker's misplay allowed two more runs to score.
Cruising on the mound after taking over in the second inning, Troy's Ryan Source struck out eight Auburn hitters in his five innings of work before turning things over to Nate Hill to start the seventh. He was even better as he sat down six Tigers in his three innings and allowed the Trojans to put the finishing touches on this one with four more gift runs in the eighth inning.
Getting scoreless innings on the mound from Daniel Koger in the sixth and Justin Camp in the seventh, Auburn turned to Craig Shirley in the eighth to keep the Tigers in the game. Unfortunately his defense let him down in a big way leading to the outburst. After walking the leadoff man, Shirley got Trae Santos to hit a fly ball to center field, but Ryan Tella dropped it for the third error of the game for the Tigers.
A sacrifice fly allowed the first run of the inning to score and moved Santos to third base and bring Pitts to the plate. The second walk of the inning put runners on the corners for McDorman as he hit a slow roller to Damek Tomscha at third for an infield single. Trying to make the play, Tomscha sailed his throw over the head of Cooper at first base. The error allowed two more runs to score for the 10-2 lead. A Brandon Brown double finished off the scoring for Troy as the Trojans won going away by a final of 11-2.
Auburn returns to action on Thursday night at 6 p.m. as the Tigers face Alabama in the first of three games at Plainsman Park. Game times are scheduled for 6 p.m. on Friday and 3 p.m. on Saturday.