Tigers Throw Shutout To Open Golloway Era

Auburn defeated Indiana State 4-0 to open the 2014 baseball season and give Sunny Golloway his first win with the Tigers.

Port Charlotte, Fla.--It was definitely a Sunny day in Florida as the Auburn Tigers took down Indiana State 4-0 in the opening game of the Sunny Golloway Era of Auburn baseball at Charlotte Sports Park.

Preaching pitching and defense since he arrived on campus, Golloway saw starter Dillon Ortman and reliever Justin Camp combine for the shutout, allowing just eight hits on the day.

At the plate freshmen J.J. Shaffer, Keegan Thompson, Damon Haecker and Anfernee Grier combined for five of Auburn's seven hits on the day with senior catcher Blake Austin coming up with a big two-run single for the Tigers on a day when small ball took center stage.

"It was a really solid first game," Golloway said. "I thought we were in control from the get-go. We put ourselves in a position to put some pressure on them early, but we made a base-running mistake. We know that's part of early baseball, but I feel like we let them out of a little bit of a jam with the base running mistake. Again, we were trying to put pressure on them.

"We pushed the envelope a little bit on hit-and-run because I don't want our guys to sit back and just think it's about banging the baseball," the coach added. "That's not how we're going to win games. Our guys have talked an awful lot up to this point about how UCLA won the national championship with pitching and defense. They are intelligent young men and that has really helped us for them to buy in to our philosophy."

Sunny Golloway

Making the start in the opener for the Tigers, the senior Ortman was solid as he allowed five hits in five innings and struck out three without walking a batter. Coming off a disappointing performance in his final intra-squad game last weekend, he said it was huge to come out and have command in the win.

"I felt real good today," Ortman said. "We had a beautiful day and the defense played great. We had one error and then I had an error so I count one error on our defense. They played great. I was trying to fill the zone and not give up walks and free passes. I accomplished that through five."

Auburn struck first at the Snowbird Classic thanks to one of five true freshmen in the starting lineup. Leading off the top of the second, Daniel Robert worked a walk to get things started for the Tigers.

Failing to move the runner over with a bunt, third baseman Damek Tomscha hit a sharp grounder to third base but beat the throw to first to stay out of the double play. Playing left field sophomore Jordan Ebert hit a chopper to third base that just got under the glove of the Indiana State fielder to put runners on first and second with just one out for the Tigers.

Trying to keep the pressure on the Sycamores with Austin at the plate, Golloway put on a hit-and-run play. Unfortunately for the Tigers, Kudrecki's pitch to the plate was high and out of the strike zone, making it an easy throw to third to gun down Tomscha.

A walk to Austin on the next pitch made the caught stealing even bigger as Haecker came to the plate and delivered a single to right field to score Ebert. Making a wide turn at first Haecker got caught in a rundown. Seeing the play in front of him Austin took a turn towards home but was thrown out to end the threat.

Staked to a 1-0 lead Ortman faced his first real threat in the bottom of the third inning. With one out number nine hitter Tyler Wampler reached on an infield single and moved to third on a Landon Curry single. A stolen base by Curry put runners on second and third for the Sycamores for number two hitter Connor McClain, but Ortman had an answer. Catching the left fielder looking for strike three, the Auburn senior then got a groundout to end the inning with no damage done.

Thanks to handy glove work by Thompson at first base to end the fifth inning after Wampler reached on a two-out single and moved to third following a stolen base and a wild pitch, Ortman got even more help from his offense in the sixth inning.

Leading things off, Thompson backed up his defensive play with a single up the middle. Moving to second on a sacrifice bunt by Robert, Thompson has a bird's eye view as Tomscha was hit by a pitch to put runners on first and second for Ebert. Attempting to bunt for a base hit, the sophomore was thrown out, but he accomplished another goal and that was moving both runners into scoring position for Austin.

Getting a pitch to handle, Austin laced a bouncer through the left side to push across Thompson and Tomscha to make it 3-0 Tigers.

Once again the inning was set up by the play of several freshman, something that didn't come as a surprise to Golloway.

"I thought our guys really played well," Golloway said. "We've seen that and again, if freshman are in the lineup they're in the lineup for a reason. They are very, very talented. I didn't sleep good last night, but I didn't sleep bad because those guys can play a little bit."

That would be all for Ortman as Camp came in to pitch a scoreless top of the sixth and Auburn's offense struck again to extend the lead in the next inning. Leading things off speedy freshman J.J. Shaffer singled and stole second to move into scoring position, his second stolen base of the game. Moving to third on a Dan Glevenyak ground ball, Shaffer started from third base and coasted across as Thompson put down a perfect squeeze bunt to make it a four-run advantage for the Tigers.

Camp finished things off with a scoreless ninth inning to get the win and secure the shutout for the Tigers. Ortman said that was important for the team to keep Indiana State off the scoreboard and it's big heading into the second game of the weekend against Ohio State on Saturday.

"Me and Camp threw the ball well today," Ortman said. "He came in after me and threw the ball extremely well. For us to get a shutout is huge. It's big for our entire pitching staff. Our goal tomorrow is don't give up the first run. I think Mike (Michael O'Neal) will do a great job and whoever comes after him will do a great job."

Auburn will face Ohio State at 11 a.m. CST on Saturday at North Charlotte Regional Field in Port Charlotte, which will also be the site for Sunday's game vs. UConn.

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