Pitching Powers Tigers In SEC Opening Weekend

Coach Sunny Golloway's Tigers went 4-1 last week including a series win over Texas A&M to open SEC play.

Auburn, Ala.--On the strength of back-to-back complete game performances in SEC play for the first time since 2010 for the Auburn Tigers, Coach Sunny Golloway's program got off to a solid start in league action with a pair of wins against Texas A&M. With wins over Kennesaw State and Alabama State as well, the Tigers went 4-1 and find themselves at 13-7 overall heading into another five-game week featuring a pair of midweek games against Coppin State and a road trip to Tennessee

The key to any successful college baseball team at the moment is pitching and that is something Auburn is getting, especially from starters Dillon Ortman and Keegan Thompson. Currently 4-1 with a 1.83 ERA this season, Ortman pitched a gem in a 4-0 Auburn win on Friday night against the Aggies. Pitching his first career complete game, Ortman allowed just four hits in getting the win.

Thompson was almost as strong, throwing his second-straight complete-game in a 5-3 win over Texas A&M. Striking out 10 and allowing just four hits, Thompson improved his record to 4-0 overall with an impressive earned run average of just 0.69.

With two guys throwing well to start the Tigers on conference weekends, Golloway said his "pretty good 1-2 punch" of Ortman and Thompson put the Tigers in a good position moving forward in the SEC if they continue to put up the numbers they have so far this season.

Getting two solid performances in the first two games of the series against Texas A&M, Auburn fell flat in game two of Saturday's doubleheader as the Tigers fell 9-0. Even though his team won the series, Golloway said there is still plenty to learn from his team moving forward if it hopes to take the next step.

"I tried to preach to them that these games are so important," Golloway said. "I have been part of a program that has won a lot of the first two games with the horses we've had in the past and the programs I have been in. You just don't want to have that letdown because it can really carry over. It just didn't happen. We'll take two out of three and four out of five for the week and regroup and get ready for the next week. It's a long journey."

A team that has swept just two SEC series the last three seasons and none last year, Auburn is hoping to change that mentality moving forward. Golloway said that's another step in the process and it's just like changing the mentality of the entire program.

"It's going to take a while to get that mentality down," Golloway said. "You play to win the series. We don't mention anything. That's what I told them after game one, ‘we've got to win this game'. That was all we were talking about was winning a game, period. Then when we won the game (game one of the doubleheader) I went in and said ‘okay, we've won the series now understand how important this game is'. If you happen to drop one out of two somewhere down the road it turns that into a two out of three. But it's going to take time. That's probably the first time they have heard that."

Player of the Week

Both Damek Tomscha and Jordan Ebert had huge weeks for the Tigers, but Tomscha gets the nod after going 9-17 with a pair of home runs, five RBI and five runs scored in five games. He leads Auburn in hitting with a .400 average and is first in doubles (5), home runs (5) and RBI (18). He tweaked his leg running in Saturday's doubleheader, but Golloway said he expects the senior to be fine. Ebert was 9-22 for the week with three runs scored in five games for the Tigers and is second on the team with an average of .350.

Damek Tomscha

Freshman of the Week

Once again that honor belongs to Thompson following his impressive outing in game one of Saturday's doubleheader. Strong defensively at first base in addition to his duties on the mound, the Cullman native finished off his complete game against the Aggies by striking out the side in the ninth inning.

SEC Standings

Western Division

Miss. State15-82-1
Ole Miss17-42-1
Texas A&M14-71-2
Arkansas  9-71-2

Eastern Division

South Carolina18-12-1
Missouri  9-91-2

Friday's Games

Auburn 4, Texas A&M 0
Alabama 3, Kentucky 0
Florida 2, Arkansas 1
Georgia 7, Mississippi State 1
Missouri 5, Tennessee 2
Ole Miss 6, South Carolina 4

Saturday's Games

Auburn 5, Texas A&M 2
Texas A&M 9, Auburn 0
Mississippi State 6, Georgia 1
Mississippi State 4, Georgia 1
Kentucky 7, Alabama 2,br> Alabama 5, Kentucky 3
South Carolina 5, Ole Miss 4 (10)
South Carolina 3, Ole Miss 1
Tennessee 5, Missouri 1
Tennessee 4, Missouri 1
Vanderbilt 5, LSU 3
Vanderbilt 9, LSU 3
Florida 1, Arkansas 0

Sunday's Game Arkansas 9, Florida 3

Week 2 SEC Schedule

Auburn at Tennessee
Missouri at Ole Miss
Alabama at Arkansas
Florida at Texas A&M
Georgia at LSU
South Carolina at Kentucky
Vanderbilt at Mississippi State

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