“I think the first game clearly was the key for the day,” Golloway said. “You kind of look back and say whoever winds up winning that first game would have a great chance to sweep the double dip today. I just thought our guys did a really good job.”
Already with one win under its belt on Saturday, Auburn sent senior Rocky McCord to the mound in game two and he delivered in a big way. Allowing just two hits and one run in seven innings while striking out a career high 10 batters, McCord picked up his first win of the season and secured the doubleheader sweep for the Tigers.
“It was good,” McCord said. “I had my slider working better this week than I did last week. Going out on the mound after we scored a few runs helped my confidence a lot. It just made it easy. I felt like in the third or fourth inning I started struggling a little bit with some of my command and Kyler (Deese) made a big play. That definitely helped me out the rest of the day.”
At the plate Daniel Robert was the star of the day for the Tigers. After going 2-4 in game one, including a game-winning single in the 10th inning, the sophomore had a pair of hits in game two and another RBI to lead the Auburn attack. Fellow sophomore Anfernee Grier was 3-4 in game one and had a hit in the second game to extend his hitting streak to nine games.
While the offense did enough to win two games on Saturday, Golloway said the difference was the pitching as McCord and game one starter Trey Wingenter set the tone for the day. Allowing one earned run on five hits in six and two/thirds innings, Wingenter didn’t get the win, but he pitched well enough to keep the Tigers in the game until the offense could get the job done.
“I think we fed off things pretty well,” Wingenter said. “We gave away a couple of runs, myself included, on that one pitch I wish I had back. I thought the guys played great defense behind me and eventually we got the bats rolling.”
In the first game of the day it took a comeback for the Tigers to take the series opener from the Highlanders. Trailing 2-0 in the seventh inning, Auburn got a run back when Shaffer reached on a bunt single as a pinch hitter to start the inning. Starting his big day Roberts singled to center field, but Radford’s center fielder whiffed on the ground ball. The error allowed the speedy Shaffer to come all the way around to score and cut the lead in half.
Still down a run in the ninth, Auburn got the leadoff runner on when Shaffer was hit by a pitch. Sam Gillikin followed with a single to right field to put runners on first and second for Robert. His bunt moved both runners into scoring position for Nulph. Playing the percentages, Radford walked the junior to face catcher Blake Logan. Doing his job, Logan lifted a fly ball to left field to score Shaffer and send the game to extra innings.
With reliever Dalton Rentz keeping the Radford offense at bay, Auburn came to the plate in the 10th looking for the win. Singling to center for his third hit of the game, Anfernee Grier moved to second on a sac bunt. Walking Jordan Ebert to put the force in play, Radford reliever Daniel Bridgeman walked Gillikin to load the bases for Robert. Getting his chance to end things, Robert singled to center field to give the Tigers a 3-2 win in 10 innings and start the doubleheader sweep.
Tied 1-1 in the fifth inning in game two, Auburn broke the game open with a four-run inning. Starting things with a solo homer to left, Nulph put the Tigers in front with his first home run of the season. It was the fifth of the year for Auburn, a mark last year’s team didn’t reach until March 11.
The Auburn bats were just getting warmed up as Grier was hit by a pitch and Ebert reached on an error to bring Robert to the plate with one out. Getting a pitch to take the other way, Robert tripled to the gap to score both runners and make it 4-1 Tigers. Shaffer finished off the inning with a two-out single to left to give McCord a four run advantage to work with. A Grier single to score Ben Craft in the sixth put the finishing touches on the win as reliever Izaac Yarbrough pitched two scoreless innings to finish off the sweep.
Sophomore Kevin Davis will get the start for Auburn in Sunday’s game that is scheduled to start at 1 p.m.