Auburn, Ala.--Auburn’s up and down play this season continued on Wednesday night as Kennesaw State took down the Tigers as the Owls’ Cory Greeson had four hits and six RBI in a 7-3 win. Coach Butch Thompson’s team now turns its attention to Mississippi State this weekend as the Tigers (22-27) take on the No. 3 Bulldogs in the final home series of the season.
“I thought the focus was not there,” Thompson said of the Tigers. “I thought we were the puppet and Kennesaw State was the puppeteer. I think it’s important to call everything what it is. We gave up five runs tonight from a pitching standpoint with two outs and nobody on. They swung the bats aggressively with 14 hits. Five runs came with two outs and nobody on. To me that’s focus.”
On the mound Auburn starter Andrew Mitchell struggled in three innings, allowing five earned runs on eight hits to put the Tigers in a serious hole early on Wednesday. Marc Frazier, Daniel Sprinkle and Izaac Yarbrough also saw time on the mound for Auburn on the night when none of the weekend guys were available with a big series coming up this weekend.
At the plate the Tigers managed just four hits with Cody Nulph leading the way with two singles while Jordan Ebert drove in two runs as part of a three-run inning in the third that tied the game. That was the end of the offense for Auburn on this night as they didn’t score again. In the meantime Kennesaw State would add a pair of runs in both the fourth and sixth innings to take control of the game.
There was some good news for Auburn on a mostly dreadful night and that was the return of Josh Palacios. While his pinch-hitting appearance only lasted four pitches before he struck out looking, the junior saw pitches for the first time since April 7 and Thompson said that was a big step.
“For his work for the better part of five weeks with the rehab and to keep working and taking some swings and having setbacks and expecting to get going, but then getting back to the point of getting him in the ballgame we thought he was ready for that,” Thompson said. “It’s going to have him back in there.
“I think our fans acknowledged him being out and were really aware when he walked up to the plate. I’m sure he respects that and appreciates that. It was probably good just to track a pitch in there and be back in the box. Tonight afforded that opportunity and we took in there in the ninth.”
Auburn returns to action this weekend as the Tigers face Mississippi State in the three-game series at Plainsman Park.