“We pitched the ball really well,” Coach Sunny Golloway said. “We really pitched the ball well. In my 24 years of experience, when you face a team from the North early on they can really swing it pretty good. The reason is they spend most of their times in the cages because they can’t get outside.
“I really tip my cap to our pitchers,” he added. “I thought all three of them were very efficient. Keegan was very efficient with his pitch count. Cole Lipscomb had to get out of a jam and Campy came in on the back end and filled it up like we wanted him to. He’s a max effort guy and filled that role really well.”
Making his first start of the season, Thompson was outstanding for the Tigers in his four innings of work. Striking out five and allowing just a single hit on 53 pitches, the sophomore did exactly what he wanted in the opener despite the normal struggles in a first start.
“It was really good,” Thompson said. “I kind of struggled with my command a little bit with my fastball, but it’s the first day and not everybody is on their game every time. I threw well enough to get us where we were. After the fourth inning Cole came in and did a great job. Then Campy came in and closed the door.”
A team that hit just 15 total home runs a season ago, Auburn got off to a great start thanks to one swing from Ebert. With two outs in the first inning, the right fielder got a pitch to hit and drove it over the wall in left-center for a home run. It was his first since his freshman season and got the Tigers off the ground in a hurry on the way to the victory.
“I don’t know how many shutouts we’ve had since I have been here at Auburn,” Ebert said. “A 2-0 game is just a testament to Coach (Tom) Holliday. We defended well and pitched well. I thought we hit the ball well, but sometimes it’s just right at them. I think we had a lot of those today. It’s a good first step for this team to get out here in front of the Auburn fans and see what that’s about.”
Jordan Ebert crushes a shot over the left field wall for his first home run since May 18, 2013 against Arkansas.
With Thompson cruising on the mound Auburn added to its lead in the fourth thanks to Decker setting the table. Leading off, the former UCF signee doubled down the left field line to put the Tigers in business. Moving to third on a Cody Nulph groundout, Decker looked like he would be stranded when Sam Gillikin struck out, but Blake Logan’s two-out singled pushed him across for the 2-0 lead.
That would be all for Thompson as Lipscomb came on in relief to start the fifth. Working around a walk in his first inning, the redshirt sophomore almost wasn’t as fortunate in the sixth. Walking Zach Blanden, Lipscomb allowed a single to David Schanz, but he bounced back with a pair of strikeouts to keep the shutout intact.
Pitching through the eighth inning, Lipscomb turned things over to Camp in the ninth and he delivered with a dominating final inning to earn the save.
Game two of the series will be at 3 p.m. on Saturday with junior Trey Wingenter getting the start for Auburn.