“We talked to the guys briefly and I think we lost some focus on the mound,” Golloway said. “When you are behind I think it’s easy to lose focus. That’s where we’ve got to develop some maturity on the mound and not lose focus. It’s going to take games to do that. I still think our guys are really special.”
Getting the start for the Tigers, junior Trey Wingenter struggled out of the gate as he allowed a pair of runs in the first inning to put Auburn in a hole. Leading off, Zach Blanden singled and later advanced to second on a one-out single by Jake Thomas. Following a walk to Reed Gamache, Brendan Skidmore singled to left field to score Blanden. It could have been worse, but Auburn’s Bo Decker gunned down Thomas at the plate to keep the damage to a minimum. However Wingenter added to his problems with a wild pitch to score Gamache for the 2-0 Binghamton lead.
Wingenter was the bright spot on the mound for the Tigers as relievers Kevin Davis, Jacob Milliman, Will Thompson, Dalton Rentz and Izaac Yarbrough allowed nine hits in seven innings of work. Golloway said despite that he saw some good things at times.
“I think Wingenter starting it out was just a little nervous, but he settled in really well,” Golloway said. “You even saw Yarbrough, for example, he pitched well for one inning, but the inning before that when things were starting to fall apart a little bit he had trouble getting his focus back. That’s what we talked to the guys about, don’t let that scoreboard keep you from being able to focus on the mound, at the plate, or defensively.”
Ben Craft puts the tag on a Binghamton runner at the plate
Auburn answered back in the bottom of the third as first baseman Kyler Deese was hit by a pitch to get things started. Following a single by Anfernee Grier, Nulph put down a perfect bunt single. Trying to make the play at first, Binghamton’s Schanz threw the ball away allowing Deese to score. A double play ball off the bat of Jordan Ebert scored Grier to tie the game at two, but trouble was coming for the Tigers.
Settling down, Wingenter pitched through four innings before giving way to Davis. That’s when the trouble started for Auburn. Making his first appearance since being shut down last season because of arm problems, the sophomore walked the first batter he faced on four pitches and hit the next. That brought his day to an end in a hurry with Milliman coming in to try to quiet the Bearcats.
It didn’t work. Instead Thomas got a pitch to drive and lifted it in the air to left field. With a strong wind blowing towards the green monster in left the ball just cleared the wall for a three-run home run. That gave Binghamton a 5-2 lead and put the pressure squarely on the Tigers.
Needing runners, Auburn freshman Hunter Tackett walked to start the fifth and put the Tigers in business. Moving to second on a wild pitch, Tackett advanced to third on a single from Deese to put runners on the corners. With two outs in the inning Nulph again came through for the Tigers with a single to score Tackett and cut the Binghamton lead down to a pair.
Auburn had a chance to do more damage after a walk to Ebert loaded the bases with just one out. Coming on in relief for Binghamton, Mike Urbanski did his job with a big strikeout of Bo Decker before a Blake Logan ground ball brought the inning to a close.
The Tigers added another run in the sixth when Haecker doubled and eventually scored on a Deese sacrifice fly. Now back within a single run Auburn was looking to finish off the comeback, but the Bearcats had other ideas.
Giving up a single to open the seventh, Milliman gave way to Thompson out of the Auburn bullpen and once again things fell apart for the Tigers. Another single and a sacrifice bunt later and the Bearcats had runners on second and third with just one out. Rentz came on to face Skidmore, but didn’t fare any better as his double to the gap scored both runners to make it 7-4.
Binghamton broke the game open in the eighth inning with Thomas adding to his damage with a two-run triple as part of a four-run inning for the visitors. Auburn got back a single run in the eighth on a Sam Gillikin single to score Haecker, but it was far too little and much too late for the Tigers.
Auburn goes for the series win on Sunday at noon with senior Rocky McCord getting the start for the Tigers.