Clements And Tigers Shut Down Owls

Robby Clements improved to 4-0 on the year after pitching seven shutout innings in a 6-0 win over Kennesaw State.

Auburn, Ala.--Auburn got its sixth shutout of the baseball season behind a strong pitching performance from senior Robby Clements and Kyler Deese gave the Tigers all the offense they would need with a three-run homer in the second inning as Coach Sunny Golloway’s team blitzed Kennesaw State 6-0 to improve to 30-16 on the season.

That continues the momentum for a weekend SEC series for the Tigers at South Carolina and they enter with plenty of confidence with the league’s longest current winning streak at six games.

Making just his third start of the season, Clements was dominant in his seven innings of work. Allowing just three hits and striking out a career-high eight hitters, Clements improved to 4-0 with the win and said for him it was just an opportunity to do his job and help the team get a win.

“I felt pretty good,” Clements said. “It was my longest career outing and I haven’t thrown that much in a while. It was a lot of fun. I was talking to Cole (Lipscomb) or Keegan (Thompson) and I can’t imagine starting a game like that and throwing like that on a Friday or Saturday or Sunday in the SEC. It was fun, it really was.”

At the plate Deese and Jordan Ebert both had two hits for the Tigers as they dominated the game from start to finish. It was just the kind of win Golloway was looking for from his team as it gets ready to face the Gamecocks.

“I was really surprised to be honest with you that we played as well as we did,” Golloway said. “It was really a clean game on our side with the hits and efficiency of two-out hits--how Robby pitched really cleaned the game up for us.

"I talked to the team right before we came out and said ‘let’s not be guilty of having one foot on the bus.' We all understand how important this South Carolina series is and each week we talk about how more important the next weekend is. I thought our guys showed a lot of maturity.”

Auburn didn’t take long to jump on the Owls on Wednesday night as Blake Logan singled with one out in the second inning and Ebert followed with two outs to bring Deese to the plate. Ahead in the count 1-0, Deese jumped all over a fastball from Chris Erwin and sent it flying over the K Korner in right field for his second home run of the season. The blast put the Tigers up 3-0 and gave Clements plenty of cushion to work with.

Kyler Deese is greeted at the plate following his three-run homer

With Clements doing work Auburn came back for more in the bottom of the fifth and it came with two outs. Getting a pitch to handle, Anfernee Grier doubled with two outs to bring Daniel Robert to the plate and the big first baseman delivered a single to center field. Grier scored easily on the play to make it a four-run advantage for Clements.

In the sixth the Tigers extended the lead even more as Bo Decker walked and moved to third on bunts by Logan and Cody Nulph to bring Ebert to the plate with a chance to drive in a run. Going down to get a low breaking ball Ebert smashed a single up the middle to make it a 5-0 lead, plenty for Auburn on this night.

Reliever Will Thompson pitched a scoreless top of the eighth before Auburn added to its lead in the bottom of the inning. Pinch hitting for Logan, Ben Craft walked before moving to third on a perfect hit-and-run of the bat of Alex Polston. With runners on the corners and no outs Kennesaw State reliever Jordan Versteeg threw a pitch down in the zone that got by catcher Drew Davis to score Craft. That would be all for the Tigers as Thompson finished things off in the ninth to secure the win.

Auburn will face South Carolina in a three-game series on the road this weekend. Game times are scheduled for 6 p.m. CDT on Friday (SEC Network+), 2:30 p.m. on Saturday (SEC Network) and 1 p.m. on Sunday (ESPNU).

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