Tigers Bounce Back With 6-1 Win

Auburn pounded out 11 hits on the way to a 6-1 win over South Alabama on Tuesday night at Plainsman Park.

Auburn, Ala.--Three consecutive two-out doubles in the fifth inning were enough to propel the Auburn Tigers over visiting South Alabama as the Tigers took down the Jaguars 6-1 at Plainsman Park. Down 1-0, Auburn scored three runs in the fifth and two more in the sixth as relievers Jay Wade, Trey Cochran-Gill and Terrance Dedrick combined for four and two/thirds combined innings of scoreless baseball as Sunny Golloway's club earned its 23rd win of the season.

On a run of disappointing baseball with four one-run losses in the last seven games and five losses overall, Golloway said it was good to see his team respond on Tuesday night. Now with a road trip to Arkansas in front of them, he said he sees some good things from this group of Tigers.

"We understand that some things are going to happen," Golloway said. "They just stayed the course. They're trying to teach each other and do the little things...I told this team that I'm proud of this bunch. That's seven games in a row they have played good, they really have played good. We haven't won, I understand that, and we've got to win. We've got to learn how to win, but we've played some good, solid baseball games. Then I really complimented our pitching and defense. Our pitching has kept us in games and our defense has been outstanding."

At the plate senior catcher Blake Austin was one of four Auburn players with two hits on the night, joined by Keegan Thompson, Blake Logan and Jordan Ebert. Fighting to keep his team on track, Austin said it was great to see things fall into place once again.

"It was big," Austin said of the victory that improved Auburn to 23-19. "Winning is always fun. We feel like we have been playing some good baseball, but we just haven't been able to finish the games. There is no panic over here."

Trailing 1-0 into the fifth with the only run of the game coming following a leadoff double by Tallassee native Davis Knapp, the son of former Auburn kicker Chris Knapp, and a wild pitch by starter Daniel Koger that allowed him to score, the Tigers finally got the offense untracked in the fifth inning. By that time Koger's day was done, but not before he pitched a season high four and one/third innings.

Hitless through three, Auburn actually loaded the bases in the fourth inning with one out but a pop up and a strikeout ended the threat. One inning later they finally broke through thanks to a string of doubles. Reaching on a walk to start things off, freshman shortstop Damon Haecker moved to second with two outs on a stolen base. Advancing to third on a wild pitch, he was able to walk home when Austin blasted a double to left-center.

With the game tied at one Auburn kept up the offensive pressure as Keegan Thompson's double to left field easily scored Austin to put the Tigers in front 2-1. Pinch hitting for Daniel Robert, freshman Blake Logan sliced a double down the right field line to put the finishing touches on a three-run inning for Auburn.

"The three doubles in a row were really big," Golloway said. "We haven't strung extra-base hits together like that all year. That was big for us. It's one of the things Coach (Greg) Norton has really been stressing to our guys is to try to get in a position where we can really drive the baseball."

In control since coming on for the Tigers out of the bullpen, Wade pitched a scoreless sixth to allow his offense to put the game away. On first with one out following a fielder's choice that retired Haecker, Ryan Tella was able to move all the way to third on a failed pickoff attempt by the Jaguars. That's all Tomscha needed as his single to right field scored Tella for the 4-1 lead. Following a walk to Austin and a Thompson strikeout, Logan came through again with a single to right field to give the Tigers a four-run advantage.

Pushing the lead to five in the seventh when Jordan Ebert scored on a wild pitch, Auburn got solid pitching to close things out with Dedrick's scoreless ninth the finishing touch. That was a sign of things to come Golloway said because the role of closer is his once again.

"He needs to be there and Coach (Scott) Foxhall has talked to me about it," Golloway said. "He's the best guy for the job right now and he might be the best guy for the job even if we had other people. I have just been here for a short time to evaluate it because you can't really evaluate that in the fall. It's relaxed and there's not the intensity we have right now. He's the right guy for the job and Coach Foxhall is convinced he's the right guy for the job and I believe in Coach Foxhall. That's who he wants to be his back-end guy."

Auburn will face #24 Arkansas in a three-game series this weekend on the road. Game times for the weekend are 6:35 p.m. on Friday, 6:05 p.m. on Saturday and 1:05 p.m. on Sunday.

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