Needing some positive momentum on offense, Auburn (26-23) got just what the doctor ordered from Ebert as his two-out single in the fourth opened the floodgates for the Tigers' offense. Spurring on a four-run inning, the sophomore said it was nice to see the team build some momentum following the first of his three hits.
"I think it showed a little bit because we got like four hits after that," Ebert said. "Hitting is contagious. It's mental, so mental. I have been so blessed to have a hitting guy like (Greg) Norton to calm me down a little bit when my mind is going crazy when I'm not doing good at the plate. I'm just really blessed to have him.
"Going into this weekend it's do or die for us, and we know it," he added. "Just to get some confidence and remember that we can hit is huge. It's easy to forget that this is a game of failure. If you let it eat you up it will. It's undefeated. You're going to fail, but being able to get past it and be more mentally strong than this game is the biggest thing."
On the mound Daniel Koger improved to 2-0 on the year as he allowed just one run on four hits in six innings of work. Justin Camp, Robby Clements, Ryan Tella and Trey Cochran-Gill finished off the game by allowing just two hits in the final three innings. For Tella it was his first career appearance on the mound and the senior outfielder looked good in his two batters of work.
"It felt good to get a start in and kind of cruise a little bit," Koger said. "The velocity is not there, I know that. It's just about getting through the innings and doing what the team needs. After those big innings we had it was important to get out there and get three quick outs and throw some strikes."
As for Tella it was just about getting his feet wet on the mound once again. Throwing off the mound on Monday, he said it was nice to pitch once again and he hopes it's something they can continue to see more of the rest of this season.
"I threw yesterday in an intra-squad to just one hitter, a lefty," Tella said. "I threw two fastballs yesterday and hit 88 both times. There is probably more in there. I haven't been on the mound or done anything. I'll just look at video and see how it goes from there."
Ryan Tella looked good in his limited work on the mound Tuesday and it's something that could become more regular in the last two weeks of the season.
Trailing 1-0 heading to the bottom of the fourth, Auburn's offense was stuck in a stretch where it had scored just one run in the last 36 innings. That all changed with some two-out hustle from Tella. Earning a two-out walk, Tella stole second to move into scoring position and bring Ebert to the plate. Back in the lineup after being held out of Sunday's game, Ebert laced a single through the right side to tie the game and break the ice for the Tigers.
Taking his cue from Tella, Ebert stole second as well to move into scoring position for Thompson but it wouldn't matter. Already with a double on the night, Thompson stroked a ball into right field and raced all the way to third for his first triple of the season. Now leading 2-1, Auburn got a walk to Dan Glevenyak before Grier singled home Thompson for the third run of the inning. Freshman Damon Haecker finished off the scoring with a single of his own to push across Glevenyak and give the Tigers a three-run advantage.
With Koger settling in on the mound, Auburn's offense came back to put the game away in the fifth inning with three more runs. Getting singles from Damek Tomscha and Tella with one out, the Tigers got the second RBI single of the night from Ebert to make it a 5-1 lead. Already with two hits, Thompson came up with two on but struck out trying to protect the runners on a double steal. It proved to be big as Glevenyak hit a high-hopper over the Bethune-Cookman third baseman to score both runs and make it 7-1 Auburn.
In the sixth Haecker walked and Austin followed with a single up the middle to put the Tigers in business once again. Two outs later Tella was hit by a pitch, the 73rd of the season for Auburn to tie a school record. That brought Ebert to the plate with a chance to do even more damage. The sophomore did not disappoint, stroking a double to score Tomscha and Tella to make it an eight-run lead.
The only excitement from that point forward was seeing the pitching debut of Tella. Entering the game with two outs in the eighth inning, Tella walked the first batter he faced before getting out of the inning with a ground ball. Cochran-Gill closed things out for the Tigers with a scoreless ninth.
Auburn will hit the road this weekend to face Kentucky in Lexington for a three-game series. Game times for the weekend are 5:30 p.m. on Friday, 6 p.m. on Saturday (FSS) and noon on Sunday (FSS).