Gillikin had two of just five Auburn hits on the day as the Tigers struggled to get anything going offensively against the Aggies. On the mound starter Trey Wingenter allowed four runs on six hits in five and one/third innings pitched. Cole Lipscomb allowed three hits and no runs in one and two/thirds innings while Justin Camp gave up a pair of runs in his one inning of work. While the pitching hit a wall, Golloway said the lack of offense was his team’s biggest problem over the weekend.
“I think we had eight, seven and nine strikeouts in our three games and that’s too many strikeouts,” Golloway said. “We’ve got to get more balls in play. I think sometimes we’re too conscientious and worried about power numbers. We’re trying to tell our guys not to worry about that. If you look at today Gillikin hits a ball out of the yard, but they put five singles together and really that was the big inning. We’ve got to go back and work on some things and we’ve got to get better.”
Auburn held the lead for part of Sunday’s game thanks to a hot start by Wingenter on the mound and one swing of the bat from Gillikin. With the game still scoreless in the fifth the junior from Hoover got a pitch to handle and launched it over the right field wall for his first home run of the season.
That’s how things stood when Wingenter took the mound in the bottom of the sixth with the Tigers trying to keep the pressure on the unbeaten Aggies. Allowing just two hits to that point, Wingenter allowed a leadoff single to Blake Moss and another to Blake Allemand to put the Aggies in business. Ryne Birk singled to score Moss and tie the game, but the damage was just starting for Wingenter and the Tigers.
Following a wild pitch to move both runners into scoring position, Mitchell Nau singled home both, but was thrown out trying to stretch the hit into a double. That proved to be good news for the Tigers as the damage in the inning could have been even worse as Nick Banks singled to end the day for Wingenter, but Texas A&M greeted Lipscomb with a double to score Banks and make it a 4-1 advantage.
“It’s pretty amazing when you look at it,” Golloway said. “He was really throwing the ball well and all of the sudden five-straight hits in a row and we couldn’t get him out of there fast enough. The first out of the bullpen gives up a double. It seems like all weekend we gave up big numbers.
“They scored three runs in four different frames over the weekend. They scored four runs in that frame and then two more in the eighth inning. We had the lead in all three ballgames and then gave up big numbers to them. We’ve got to minimize our damage. We can’t be giving up those big numbers like that.”
The Aggies had a chance to break the game open in the bottom of the seventh after loading the bases with two outs off Lipscomb to bring Nau to the plate. Getting a pitch to drive he sent it into left field, but Jordan Ebert’s diving grab ended the inning and kept the Tigers in striking distance.
It wouldn’t matter on this day as Texas A&M added a pair of runs off Camp in the bottom of the eighth inning to make it a five-run lead. Mark Ecker pitched a scoreless ninth inning of relief to secure the shutout for the Aggies.
Auburn returns to action Tuesday night when the Tigers travel to face UAB at Regions Field in Birmingham. First pitch is scheduled for 6:30 p.m.