Pitching Leads Tigers To 4-2 Win Over UGA

Cole Lipscomb picked up his sixth win of the season and Trey Wingenter added his second save as the Tigers took out Georgia 4-2 to open the series.

Auburn, Ala.--Auburn got a strong combined pitching performance from Cole Lipscomb and Trey Wingenter and just enough offense to earn a 4-2 win over Georgia and take the first game of an important SEC baseball series against the Bulldogs on Thursday night at Plainsman Park.

With the win Auburn improves to 27-16 overall and 8-11 in SEC play and Lipscomb said it came on a night when he just had to battle through when he wasn't as sharp as he wanted to be.

Entering the game with a 5-1 record and an ERA of just 2.19, the redshirt sophomore allowed two runs on six hits in seven innings to pick up the win, but it wasn’t the smoothest of outings as he struck out just two on 106 pitches. While he wasn’t dominant, Lipscomb said the important thing was getting the win.

“When the air is heavy like this balls aren’t going to fly like they usually do,” Lipscomb said. “You just have to throw strikes. The ball is going to stay in the yard and you just really have to trust your defense.

"We talk about there are two things you can’t defend and it’s walks and home runs," he said. "On a night like tonight they’re probably not going to get many home runs so it was my job to not let them get many walks and let our defense play.”

That was exactly the recipe for success as first baseman Daniel Robert made several nice plays while Anfernee Grier ran down ball after ball in center field to keep the Bulldogs off the board. On the flip side Auburn’s offense did very little after a big first inning with Blake Logan’s two hits part of an eight-hit attack for the Tigers.

Blake Logan had two hits for the Tigers

Thrown out of the game in the ninth inning for arguing balls and strikes, Auburn Coach Sunny Golloway said while the Tigers struggled at times to put the game away he was proud of the effort from his team as it found a way to win the all-important first game of the series.

“I thought our guys competed really well,” Golloway said. “When you look there at the K Korner and see only one or two K’s, you know that he (Lipscomb) probably doesn’t have his best stuff. They did a good job of not chasing and I thought Cole was up in the zone a little bit and we got some deep fly ball outs. Usually he’s down in the zone more and guys are chasing it, but for him to not have his best stuff and compete the way he did says a lot.”

After struggling on offense in Tuesday night’s 3-2 win over Florida A&M, Auburn got just what the doctor ordered in the first inning on Thursday when Kyler Deese doubled to start things off on a positive note for the Tigers. Laying down a perfect bunt for a single, the 27th of the season for Auburn, Melvin Gray reached to put runners on the corners with no outs for the heart of the Auburn order.

Getting ahead 2-0 in the count, Grier singled to center field to score Deese and give the Tigers the early lead. Robert then did his job with a fly ball deep enough to score Gray. Later a walk to Damon Haecker set the stage for a two-out Blake Logan single to stake Lipscomb to an early 3-0 lead.

Georgia answered back in the second inning as Zack Bowers doubled and later scored on a Skyler Weber groundout. The Bulldogs added another in the third as an error on shortstop Cody Nulph put Mitchell Webb on second with nobody out. He would later score on a groundout to cut Auburn’s lead to 3-2.

The Tigers got the run back in the bottom of the third after an Austin Murphy single, a double by Logan, and a fielder’s choice from Nulph loaded the bases with nobody out. Smoking a ball up the middle, junior Sam Gillikin looked like he had broken the game open, but a diving grab by Mike Bell started a double play. Murphy scored to make it a 4-2 lead, but that was all for the Tigers.

Lipscomb escaped a serious threat in the top of the sixth as Keegan McGovern doubled to start it off before a bunt single by Stephen Wrenn put runners on the corners with nobody out. Getting a ground ball to Robert, Lipscomb got a break as McGovern broke from third and was thrown out easily at the plate to kill the rally.

That’s how things stood in the ninth as Wingenter took the mound for his second inning looking for his second save of the season. The Bulldogs got a pair of runners on base with just one out to put the pressure on, the second coming on a walk that Golloway disagreed with. Wingenter rebounded with a strikeout and fly ball out to end the game and secure the win.

Auburn will send senior Rocky McCord to the mound on Friday looking to win the series vs. the Bulldogs. First pitch is scheduled for 6 p.m. CDT and the game can be seen on the SEC Network.

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