Josh Palacios hits a home run for the Tigers.
Auburn, Ala. -- Auburn's starting pitcher Justin Camp looked to be in line to win his first start for the Tigers in almost two years with his last coming on March 11, 2014. However, the Sacramento State Hornets had different ideas.
Down 5-2 in the top of the eighth inning, the Hornets stung Auburn with four runs on four hits, which included a two-run homer from right fielder Chris Lewis. Sacramento State would hold onto that lead for the rest of the contest and win game two of the series 6-5.
“The strong, physical right-handed swing is that whole lineup (for Sacramento State),” said Head Coach Butch Thompson after the loss on Saturday. “It’s kind of bit us both days and it lets you know how good of a job Camp did. As soon as he left the ball up there they got him, but he hung in there and gave us a chance the last three frames. (Andrew) Mitchell came in there in the seventh, and there were a couple of hard hit balls and a couple left up. I think (Marc) Frazier met the same fate, and it was good to get (Izaac) Yarbrough out there. Those are going to be the moments. That’s the bullpen test.”
There wasn’t much action at the plate early on for either team as the two squads combined for one hit through the first three innings. In the bottom of the fourth Tiger left fielder Joshua Palacios broke the deadlock with a solo shot over the right field wall. The Hornets’ left fielder Andrew McWilliam would answer back in the top of the fifth with a solo home run of his own.
Again the Tigers would trade runs with the Hornets in the bottom of the fifth and the top of the sixth. Catcher Blake Logan would bring home a run after a long RBI single off of the wall in left yet Sacramento State would tie it up once more with a sacrifice fly by designated hitter Matt Smith.
“They played a really good game and out executed us in some areas today,” said Thompson.
In the bottom of the ninth the Tigers were able to get a leadoff single to left from pinch hitter Kyler Deese and then moved him to second on a sacrifice bunt by Logan, but Auburn was unable to score Deese to tie the game.
“I was happy that Deese came into the game and pinch hit and Blake put down a really good bunt to get us in scoring position,” Thompson noted. “The guy made a pitch and ended the ball game.”
It’s a rough way for the game to conclude for Camp who had not started for Auburn in a while. He left the game in a winning position having gone six innings allowing five hits, two earned runs and one walk with five strikeouts.
“We’ll be right back at it tomorrow,” said Thompson. “I think every day is different. We have to continue to try to make adjustments as a coaching staff to give us a chance to win every day. It’ll be a battle all year.”
The Tigers will take the field at Plainsman Park tomorrow for the rubber game between the two teams. First pitch is set for 1:00 p.m. CST.