Auburn Rebounds For 7-3 Win Over Mizzou

Auburn salavaged the third game of its home baseball series versus Missouri with a 7-3 win on Saturday.

Auburn, Ala.--It took three tries, but Auburn Coach Sunny Golloway finally got career win number 700 as the Tigers salvaged game three of the series versus Missouri with a 7-3 victory on Saturday.

Senior catcher Blake Austin came through with three hits and two RBI while Ryan Tella added three hits as well, but the story of the day was the pitching of starter Michael O'Neal and, in particular, reliever Jay Wade.

Back in the weekend rotation, O'Neal picked up his second win of the season, allowing two runs on eight hits in five innings of work. Coming in out of the bullpen, Wade allowed just one unearned run on one hit in four innings to pick up his first save of the season. Golloway said he liked what he saw out of both of his guys on the mound in Saturday's game.

"It's a number and what it means is that I have been blessed to be around a lot of good players and a lot of good coaches," Golloway said of his 700th win. "You're only as good as the people you're around. Once the game is over and somebody mentions it, I start thinking about the players and assistants I've had, even at Oral Roberts University. I appreciate and thank them.

"He has been terrific," Golloway added of Wade. "I'm not quite sure exactly what Jay is doing, but he's doing something pretty special. He's down in the zone and works quick and spins the ball and he makes it look a lot easier than it really is. Hopefully, our bullpen can kind of learn from that."

Michael O'Neal is shown in action on Saturday vs. Missouri. p> Getting out of a jam in the first inning when O'Neal allowed a pair of hits but didn't give up a run, Auburn took the early lead on Saturday thanks to Ebert. Leading things off with a single, Ebert moved to second on a balk with Ryan Tella at the plate. Looking to bunt the runner over, Tella beat out a bunt back to the pitcher for an infield single to put runners on the corners with no outs.

Trying to put pressure on Missouri, Tella broke from first, but was caught stealing for the first out. It proved to be big as Damek Tomscha's single scored Ebert, but that would be all in the first.

In the third inning Missouri answered back as Jake Ring led off and reached on an error by Ebert at second base. With Dan Glevenyak injured, it was Ebert's first start of the season at second base. Continuing his hot weekend at the plate, Eric Anderson followed with a single to put O'Neal in trouble. When Logan Pearson followed with a single of his own, the game was quickly tied with Missouri still in business.

That's when fortune shined on the Tigers. Wandering off second a little too far on a pitch, Anderson tried to scamper back as Austin threw from the plate. The Missouri batter didn't budge however, forcing Austin to throw high. The umpire ruled interference and called the batter out. It was a huge play in the game as catcher Dylan Kelly singled to give Missouri a 2-1 lead. O'Neal got a double play ball to end the jam, but things could have been much worse for Auburn.

Needing to get some offense going, Auburn's bats came alive in the fourth inning as Austin and Daniel Robert singled to put runners on the corner with no outs. Continuing to swing the bat well, Keegan Thompson singled through the right side to score Austin and tie the game for Auburn. Bunting the runners into scoring position, Auburn got back-to-back singles from J.J. Shaffer and Damon Haecker and just like that O'Neal was working with a 4-2 lead.

O'Neal lasted until the sixth inning when a pair of singles brought his day to a close. Coming on in relief Wade answered the call for Golloway and the Tigers as he struck out Keeton Steele and Shane Segovia before getting Ring to foul out and end the inning.

With some energy following Wade's performance in the top-half of the sixth, Auburn struck for three insurance runs in the bottom of the inning. Leading off Shaffer went the other way and when the ball got down it was extra bases for the speedy freshman. Legging out a triple he gave Auburn the energy it needed to finish things off the visitors. With one out and Shaffer still at third, Ebert delivered a single over a drawn-in infield to make it a three-run lead for Auburn.

Bringing in a reliever for Graves, Missouri could only watch as Tomscha singled and stole second with two outs to put a pair of runners in scoring position for Austin. It was only fitting that Austin finished off the scoring on this day as his check-swing single to right field pushed across Ebert and Tomscha to make a five-run lead.

With Wade controlling Missouri that is how things would stay until the ninth inning. Getting the first two hitters before an Ebert error kept the inning alive for Missouri, Wade balked the runner to third following a stolen base. The game looked to be over as Wade got a ground ball to Haecker at short, but the second error allowed a run to score to make it 7-3. Wade rebounded to get the last out of the game on a ground ball back to the mound, finishing off an impressive outing for the senior.

Auburn will return to action Tuesday night at 6 p.m. CDT when the Tigers take on Samford at Plainsman Park.

Game Two Box Score


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