Lipscomb And Bats Lead Tigers Past Cowboys

The Auburn baseball Tigers cruised to a 9-2 victory over 10th-ranked Oklahoma State on Saturday at Plainsman Park to extend AU's winning streak.

Cole Lipscomb (above) was outstanding in relief for the Tigers on Saturday.

Auburn, Ala.--The Auburn baseball Tigers pounded a season-high 17 hits vs. five Oklahoma State pitchers on the way to a 9-2 victory over the 10th-ranked Cowboys.

The Tigers broke open a close game by scoring two runs apiece in the fourth, fifth, sixth and seventh innings.

Auburn’s total of 17 hits was the most for an AU team since getting 18 in May of 2012 vs. Arkansas, which was ranked No. 13 in the country at that time.

The victory was the seventh straight for the Tigers, matching the longest for Auburn since the 2009 season when the Tigers won 11 in a row.

Cole Lipscomb, who pitched 4 2/3 innings of relief, picked up the victory for the Tigers, who improved to 9-2 for the season. OSU is now 6-4. The right-hander allowed just one hit and no runs while striking out eight of the 16 batters he faced.

Auburn pitching coach Tom Holliday said that Lipscomb made a strong statement in the competition to be a weekend starter when the SEC season arrives.

“Cole has been really good,” he said. “This rainout we had on Wednesday backed our starters up. I am still looking for our rotation. (Kevin) Davis gets a start tomorrow. There are a couple of guys who are neck-and-neck for getting into the weekend rotation. Cole has been our strike thrower. When Rocky ran that pitch count up early, we knew somebody was going to have to go a long way.”

Holliday, whose son Josh is the head coach at Oklahoma State, said he is “just about .500” in games he has coached vs. his son. “It is not like I have dominated him,” the AU assistant said, noting he had a good scouting report on the Cowboys, who he said hit better against teams that throw fastball pitchers. The coach said it was not a coincidence he put breaking ball pitchers on the mound for the Saturday game.

Holliday said the victory felt good and added, “I don’t want to play them again until the regionals or the (College World Series).”

Sunny Golloway, Auburn’s head coach, said he was impressed with Lipscomb. “I thought he did a tremendous job coming out of the bullpen.”

Golloway noted that McCord said he tweaked a groin muscle, prompting the coaches to bring in Lipscomb. “I don’t think it is going to be long-term,” the coach said of the injury. “What a remarkable job Cole did.”

Rocky McCord throws for the Tigers on Saturday at Plainsman Park.

Golloway also said he liked how his Tigers performed at the plate. “Our offense is getting better each and every time out,” he pointed out.

As well as the Tigers played vs. the Cowboys, Golloway said it is still early in the schedule and his team has a lot to prove to make a win vs. a high RPI team something that helps the Tigers qualify for postseason play.

The Cowboys took a 1-0 lead in the top of the third off of starting pitcher Rocky McCord, who surrendered three singles in the inning. Gage Green scored on a hit by Kevin Bradley.

Auburn took its first lead in the fourth inning when Blake Logan doubled and scored on a towering home run to right center field by designated hitter Hunter Tackett on a 3-2 pitch.

The Cowboys tied the game in the fifth inning as Tim Arakawa led off the inning with a double. After Auburn pulled starter McCord due to the injury, reliever Lipscomb gave up a triple to Dustin Williams. However, the Cowboys couldn’t do any more damage in the inning or the rest of the contest.

Auburn scored two more runs in the bottom of the inning. Kyler Deese and Anfernee Grier started the rally with singles. After a sacrifice bunt by Damon Haecker the Cowboys intentionally walked Jordan Ebert and changed pitchers, a strategy that did not stop the rally.

Anfernee Grier makes a diving catch in center field for the Tigers.

Blake Logan put the Tigers ahead with a sacrifice fly to center field and J.J. Shaffer’s two-out, infield single stretched the lead to 4-2.

Auburn added two more runs in the sixth inning. Cody Nulph reached base on a one-out bunt single and scored with two outs on an error by the shortstop, who mishandled a ground ball. Deese, who reached base on an error, also scored in the inning on a single by Haecker.

In the seventh inning Shaffer hit a line drive leadoff single and stole second base. He reached third base on a single by Tackett and scored on a fielder’s choice to make the score 7-2.

A single by Alex Polston put runners on the corners with one out, allowing Nulph to score on a wild pitch to make the score 8-2. OSU’s fifth pitcher of the game, lefty Kyle Bagnell, retired the next two batters to end the inning.

In the eighth inning Shaffer came through with his third hit of the game, an infield hit that scored Haecker to make the score 9-2.

Coach Sunny Golloway (left) watches the action on Saturday at Plainsman Park.

The Tigers return to action on Sunday with a 2 p.m. home game vs. Jacksonville State, a team the Tigers defeated on Friday evening.

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