Montgomery, Ala.--The Auburn Tigers continued their dominatnce in the Maxx Capital City Classic against rival Alabama with a 10-1 baseball win over the Crimson Tide Tuesday night at Riverwalk Stadium.
The victory improves Auburn to 12-13 on the year and gives the Tigers their seventh win in eight meetings in the annual game. Playing in front of a sellout crowd of 7,307, Coach Butch Thompson said his first win over Alabama was special.
“You can’t deny that, that’s what you sign up for,” Thompson said. “That’s what I dreamed of, that I get to play in that rivalry. That’s neat. I’m also so focused on our ballclub that with both bands and Aubie and everything going on and a great venue with a full crowd, I thought our offensive players stayed focused tonight.
“I thought (Andrew) Mitchell was a little slow to get started and he threw 10 fastballs and got three outs and got all the way 'til the sixth. I’m much more concerned about the quality of our play all the way around. I think it kind of gives all of us a kind of feeling of what we can do with all three phases working pretty good.”
Blasting out 15 hits with Anfernee Grier and Jordan Ebert both with three while game MVP Blake Logan added a three-run home run and a double, Auburn’s offense controlled the game from the start with starting pitcher Andrew Mitchell allowing just a run in six innings to pick up his fourth win of the year.
On the mound Mitchell struggled early on but battled through to earn the victory, allowing a run on six hits while striking out five. He said the early offense really took the pressure off him and allowed him to settle in.
“You really just can’t take them for granted, but when you get 10 runs it makes it really easy,” Mitchell said. “You just do your job and you get results like this.”
Coming off a weekend at Arkansas in which the Tigers hit the ball but couldn’t find a way to score runs, Logan said getting off to a good start was huge on Tuesday. Scoring four runs in the first and adding runs in every inning until the sixth Auburn took control and never looked back. Logan said that was huge for them from a confidence standpoint.
“It was big, especially after this weekend, for us to come out and score early and really just kept scoring,” Logan said. “I feel like just having that one inning just kind of builds confidence and everybody can play a whole lot looser.”
Blake Logan had a big night for the Tigers
Auburn’s offense wasted little time getting going against Alabama starter Jon Keller as Josh Palacios tripled with one out in the first inning before a Ebert single to center pushed him across with the first run of the game. Following a Buentello double to the gap in left-center, Logan stepped to the plate looking for a pitch to drive and got just what he was looking for.
Putting a good swing on it, Logan’s blast sailed over the wall in left field for a three-run blast. It was his first home run since March 9th of 2014 and gave Mitchell some early cushion to work with.
It looked like Mitchell would need all of that as he struggled in the second, allowing a single and hitting a batter to put a pair on base with no outs. A one-out walk to Will Haynie loaded the bases for Alabama and when Mitchell hit Hunter Webb one out later it forced home the first run of the game for the Crimson Tide. With two outs and the bases still loaded Mitchell recovered to strike out former Auburn player Connor Short to leave the sacks full with Auburn up 4-1.
The Tigers added to their lead in the bottom of the frame on a Haecker single and a Grier double to put runners on second and third for Palacios. His groundout made it a four-run lead once again, but Auburn would come back for more in the third. A Buentello single started things off for the Tigers before Alabama went to the bullpen for Brock Love.
It didn’t matter to Logan, however, as he ripped a double to put runners on first and second with no outs. A walk to Daniel Robert loaded the bases with no outs before a Cody Nulph groundout and an error on a Kyler Deese ground ball pushed the Auburn lead to 7-1.
In the fourth the Tigers added another run on one swing of the bat when Grier got a pitch to hit and unloaded his seventh home run of the season off the scoreboard in left-center. When Haecker singled home Nulph one inning later the lead was up to eight for the Tigers and things were looking good.
Auburn added another insurance run in the sixth inning when Ebert led things off with his second hit of the night. He eventually scored on a Robert blooper to left field for the 10th run of the game for the Tigers. Cardenas finished things off on the mound, pitching the final three innings to pick up his second save of the year.
Auburn returns to action this weekend as the Tigers take on LSU in a three-game series at Plainsman Park. Game times are scheduled for 6 p.m. CDT on Friday, 3 p.m. on Saturday and 1 p.m. on Sunday. All three games are available on SEC Network+.