Auburn Has "Dismal" Performance In DH Sweep

Auburn was swept in Sunday's doubleheader at Missouri and finds itself needed three huge weekends to have any chance at making the NCAA Tournament.

Columbia, Mo.—Auburn's postseason hopes to a huge hit Sunday as the Tigers (25-18, 7-14) dropped a doubleheader to Missouri by scores of 4-1 and 3-1 to lose the series and fall into a tie for 11th place in the SEC standings with just three weeks remaining in the regular season. Following a win on Friday night Coach John Pawlowski's club entered the day with hopes to getting back in the conference race and instead it could be the defining moment of the 2013 season in a bad way.

"We didn't do the things we set out to do," Pawlowski says. "In two innings we made a couple of mistakes and gave them a couple of free bases. I thought in the second game we make one play and it's a close game, and we don't make that play. Give them credit. They outpitched us, outplayed us, and certainly outhit us."

Two innings proved to be the difference in both games as Missouri (15-24, 7-14) scored three runs in the third inning of game one and three runs in the fourth inning of game two, providing enough cushion against an Auburn offense that had a terrible day at the plate. Despite totaling 12 hits in the two seven-inning games, the Tigers managed just a single run in each.

Baseball is a numbers game and when the top two hitters in your lineup go 1-22 for the weekend that makes for a difficult offensive weekend. In game three on Sunday Auburn had the bases loaded in the ninth inning with a chance to tie or go ahead and it was Ryan Tella and Jordan Ebert with the chance to break their weekend slumps as well as Auburn's slump with the bases loaded. Entering the weekend Auburn was 0-17 in SEC play with the bases loaded this season and two more chances went by the wayside as the Tigers failed to score a run in the second game of the Sunday sweep.

"Today was a dismal day offensively for us," Pawlowski says. "We scored two runs in 14 innings. Every pitch and every play means a lot. We just couldn't get anything going offensively.

"There were not many quality at-bats," he adds. "We just lacked quality at-bats. There were a lot of easy outs today. Not too many balls hit hard. We still haven't come up with that big base hit yet with the bases loaded. Unfortunately it wasn't meant to be today."

One inning proved to be the difference for Auburn and starter Michael O'Neal in game one of the doubleheader as Missouri scored three runs in the third and got a complete game from starter Keaton Steele in a 3-1 victory to even the series.

Game One Stats

Auburn got the scoring started in the first inning as Tella walked and moved to second on a Cullen Wacker single with two outs. Continuing his big series at the plate, senior first baseman Garrett Cooper singled home the speedy Tella for the 1-0 Auburn lead.

That's how things would remain until the third inning when O'Neal proved to be his own worst enemy. Allowing a single to start the inning, the junior compounded the mistake by hitting the next batter to set up a sacrifice situation for Missouri. With one out and runners on second and third O'Neal again hit a batter to load the bases with one out.

Facing the pitcher Steele, O'Neal left a pitch over the plate that was hit hard to left field. Wacker was able to grab the ball just short of the wall, but the runners all tagged and advanced a base. That proved to be big as catcher Dylan Kelly's two-out single pushed across two more runs to make it 3-1 Missouri.

O'Neal wouldn't allow another hit in the seven-inning game, but it wouldn't matter as Auburn's offense stalled out against Steele. In the fifth inning Hunter Kelley doubled to lead off the inning, but was stranded on base. The same thing happened in the sixth as a pair of singles put two runners on for Auburn, but pinch hitter Kody Ortman's fly ball kept the Tigers off the scoreboard.

Steele finished off the win with a perfect seventh inning to give Missouri the victory in game one.

Game two followed a similar pattern as Auburn scored first with a run in the third, but it should have been more. Walks to Kelley and Ortman to start the inning put the Tigers in a position to make some noise. Following a Dan Glevenyak sacrifice bunt and with Tella at the plate, Missouri starter Brett Graves' pitch got by the catcher for a passed ball. That allowed Kelley to score and put Auburn up, but a Tella groundout and an Ebert fly ball kept it a 1-0 lead.

After cruising through the first two innings, Auburn starter Daniel Koger ran into trouble in the third as three consecutive singles brought his day to a quick close as Justin Camp came on in relief. Getting a double play ball that scored one run and a strikeout to end the inning, the redshirt freshman did a great job to avoid the big inning.

The momentum didn't last very long as Steele got a 3-2 pitch to handle and hit a long bomb to left field for a solo homer. Camp didn't respond well as he walked two of the next three batters to put runners on first and second for Missouri. Chase Williamson came out of the bullpen for Auburn and quickly got a ground ball for the second out of the inning, but .153 hitter Shane Segovia's bloop single scored both runners to give Missouri a three-run lead heading to the fifth.

Auburn wouldn't threaten again until the ninth when Kelley singled and Ortman walked to bring the tying run to the plate in Glevenyak. Another walk loaded the bases and gave Auburn a final chance to make something happen. Instead Tella struck out and Ebert's fly ball sealed the series sweep and put Auburn's season officially on life support.

With final exams this week the Tigers won't return to action again until next weekend when they host Ole Miss in a three-game series at Plainsman Park.

Game Two Stats

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