The win improves the Tigers to 18-11 overall as they prepare to face Arkansas this weekend in a three-game series at Plainsman Park. Coming off a series win at Mississippi State and another victory on Tuesday, Golloway said his team is coming together at just the right time.
“It was a good game by our guys,” Golloway said. “We were very aggressive on the mound and we were very aggressive at the plate, and that’s what we asked our guys to do. I thought they did a terrific job. I thought there were three key moments in the game and we made the big pitch or we got the big hit and that was good for us.
“The identity of our team continues to grow,” he added. “Our kids continue to do everything we ask them to and they continue to work hard every day. We’re glad with where we’re at. Our guys are excited about getting out to practice and getting better because I think they are starting to see some of the results of how hard they’ve worked and how they are starting to really buy in and believe in the things we’re doing.”
Leading 5-4 coming to the plate in the seventh Auburn was looking to pad the lead for the bullpen and the Tigers did just that and much of the damage came with two outs. With Damon Haecker on second after a single to lead off the inning, Melvin Gray got a pitch to handle and singled through the infield to score Haecker and make it a two-run advantage.
That brought Deese to the plate with a chance to build onto the lead for Auburn. Known as more of a contact hitter, Deese got a pitch to handle and didn’t miss it as his drive bounced off the scoreboard for a two-run shot to give the Tigers a four-run lead at 8-4. In the ninth Daniel Robert pushed across his second run of the game on a RBI groundout to make it a five-run lead for the Tigers, but it was the shot from Deese that put this one away.
“I just tried to stay with my same approach that I had been doing and it happened to turn out the way it did,” Deese said. “Luckily we got some insurance runs and got the victory tonight.”
Struggling offensively for much of the last two weeks, Auburn broke out with 13 hits on Tuesday night as Grier led the way with three hits, including a pair of doubles. Haecker, Robert, Gray and Deese all added two hits for the Tigers in the win.
On the mound Rocky McCord got the start, allowing three runs on eight hits in five innings. Five different pitchers covered the next three innings for Auburn before closer Justin Camp closed things out, pitching the final one and one/third innings.
In addition to the offense and pitching the Tigers continue to play very good defense with another error-free game. That makes 43 ? consecutive innings without an error for Auburn, part of the reason in winning three of its last four games.
Trailing 1-0 following a Heath Quinn solo home run for Samford in the first inning, Auburn got production from the top of the lineup in the third to tie the game as Grier doubled with two outs and scored on a Damon Haecker single. The Bulldogs would answer back in the bottom of the inning however as T.J. Dixon doubled and later scored on a Hunter Swilling single to put Samford back in front.
Starting to get the offense fired up, the Tigers took the lead in the fourth. Leading off the inning with a double, Robert scored on a Deese single after Gray was hit by a pitch to put a pair of runners on base. Following a groundout by Cody Nulph, catcher Ben Craft lifted a fly ball to left field deep enough to score Gray to give Auburn a 3-2 lead.
After Samford tied things up again in the fourth it was the Auburn offense that once again answered the call in the top of the fifth. Leading off with his second double of the game, Grier eventually found himself at third with two outs when Roberts again doubled to put the Tigers back in front by a run. When Gray doubled him home moments later Auburn led 5-3.
With Jacob Milliman coming in to replace McCord to start the sixth inning Samford got one run back after a leadoff walk and a ground ball moved the runner to second with one out. Dalton Rentz came on in relief and gave up a two-out single to cut Auburn’s lead back to just a single run and set the stage for the Tigers’ big seventh inning to break the game open on the way to the win.
Auburn will face Arkansas this weekend at Plainsman Park with game times scheduled for 6 p.m. on Friday and Saturday with a 1 p.m. start scheduled for Sunday.