Tigers Stay Hot With 6-2 Win Over Samford

Auburn defeated Samford 6-2 Tuesday night for the seventh win in nine games for the Tigers.

Birmingham, Ala.—Auburn broke open a close game with three runs in the ninth inning to take a 6-2 win over the Samford Bulldogs Tuesday night on the road, the seventh win in nine games for Coach John Pawlowski's club. With the win the Tigers improve to 23-14 overall and it sets the stage for a huge series beginning Thursday night at Mississippi State.

"It was a tough ballgame, one where one play and one swing made the difference," Pawlowski says. "We were locked in a pretty good battle. We opened it up in the ninth inning and scored three runs. (Cullen) Wacker comes up with the bit hit and Blake Austin had a tremendous day at the plate too. We did some really good things from the offensive side."

Pounding out 14 hits, Auburn was led at the plate by junior catcher Blake Austin's four hits and one RBI. Senior Cullen Wacker added three hits and a pair of RBI while fellow senior Garrett Cooper added two hits as well in the win.

On the mound Trey Cochran-Gill got the start and pitched two scoreless innings, but the story of the night was the pitching of redshirt freshman reliever Justin Camp. Earning the save, Camp pitched three scoreless innings and struck out three to finish off the victory for the Tigers.

"We kept a lot of their guys off base," Pawlowski says. "They are a team that can score a lot of runs in a hurry with home runs and I thought we did a very good job pitching-wise. All of the guys we ran out there did well and you can't say enough about the job Justin Camp did. He was just outstanding. He was in total command and I felt confident as did our team with him on the mound."

Samford got the scoring started in the third inning against Auburn's second pitcher of the night Chase Williamson as Brandon Haarer's solo homer put the Bulldogs up early. Leaving four runners on base the first four innings, the Tigers finally got on the scoreboard in the top of the fifth as Hunter Kelley doubled and eventually scored on a Ryan Tella ground ball.

The tie game didn't last long as Samford again used the long ball in the bottom of the fifth to jump back in front. With two outs in the inning and facing the third Auburn pitcher of the night Dillon Ortman, Samford's Chase Durdaller homered to put the Bulldogs back in the lead 2-1.

That's how things would remain until the seventh inning when Auburn's offense finally put something together. Leading off the inning, third baseman Damek Tomscha got a pitch to handle off pitcher Eric Wright and deposited it over the wall for his third homer of the season. Tied once again, Auburn wasn't done in the inning as Kelley walked and stole second before moving to third on a Mitchell Self single.

Auburn's hottest hitter the last two weeks, Tella singled to score Kelley and make it 3-2 Tigers. Still with nobody out in the inning and runners on first and second, freshman Jordan Ebert bunted the runners into scoring position for the heart of the Auburn order, but Wacker and Garrett Cooper struck out to end the rally.

With Camp cruising on the mound after taking over for Ortman in the seventh, Auburn put the game away in the ninth inning and it started with some help from the Bulldogs. Leading off, Tella struck out but reached on a throwing error by the Samford catcher. It proved to be a huge play as Ebert followed with a bloop single to bring Wacker to the plate.

Getting a pitch to drive, Wacker doubled to score both runners and make it a 5-2 Auburn advantage. A Cooper single put runners on first and third for Austin and his fourth hit of the night pushed the final run across for the Tigers.

Camp closed out the victory with a perfect ninth inning to give Auburn its 16th come from behind win this season.

The Tigers will take on Mississippi State beginning Thursday night at 6:30 pm. in a game that can be seen on ESPNU. It is the first of three games against the Bulldogs as Auburn looks for its third consecutive series win in conference play.

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