Auburn, Ala.--Auburn starter Keegan Thompson allowed just one hit and struck out six in eight innings while Bo Decker collected three hits for the third consecutive game and drove in two as the Tigers defeated Holy Cross 7-0 to open the weekend series and improve to 5-1 on the season.
Scoring four runs in the first inning, Auburn Tigers never looked back with Keegan Thompson in control on the mound from start to finish. Coach Butch Thompson said it was another impressive performance from his junior pitcher and just what the doctor ordered for the Tigers to open the weekend.
“I just thought he was a little sharper today,” Butch Thompson said. “We got seven innings in and we were ready to go ahead and move to the bullpen and Keegan wanted the eighth. I would say as a coach, I didn’t have to go down and ask him. He had already started walking, anticipating being set on seven innings.
“He told me that he wanted one more. I appreciate him hitting the first batter of the eighth inning like that when I’m giving you one more inning, but he did a phenomenal job. He got three more outs. I like how competitive somebody is. ‘I want one more’ is a pretty good statement by him. I enjoy it.”
For Keegan Thompson it was another impressive outing as he threw 90 pitches on the day, 66 of those for strikes, and retired 19-straight batters. On one of the warmest days of the year he stayed sharp throughout despite hitting the leadoff man in his final inning. He said for him it was all about throwing the breaking ball for strikes.
“I felt good,” the pitcher said. “My breaking stuff was a little sharper today. I kind of went with my slider with two strikes and threw my curveball early in the count. I got some swings and misses and they put the ball early in play again. The defense made great plays.”
For the season Keegan Thompson has allowed just five hits and no runs in 14 innings of work and has walked just two.
At the plate Decker’s three hits paced the Tigers with Joshua Anthony adding a pair of hits and a run scored, part of a 12-hit attack on the day.
Auburn wasted no time getting Thompson a lead to work with on a beautiful Friday afternoon at Plainsman Park with four runs in the bottom of the first inning. That was enough with his guy on the mound said Decker.
“I think we got one run we were good,” Decker said. “We got what, seven. Credit to their pitcher. He threw a lot of fastballs early and realized that wasn’t going to work all day so he got a lot of curveballs over for a strike and was efficient. We just hung in there and kept fighting and put up seven.”
Shortstop Luke Jarvis got it started right away with a ringing single for the Tigers and when Jay Estes followed with a single of his own they were in business.
On fire to start the season, Daniel Robert singled home Jarvis to put Auburn on the board. Following an Anthony sacrifice fly, designated hitter Dylan Ingram again proved to the RBI man for the Tigers with a double to left to make it 3-0. Later in the inning Decker’s first hit of the game and an error on the Crusaders pushed the early lead to four.
Dylan Ingram celebrates an RBI double
That’s how things would stay until the bottom of the sixth when Auburn would add to it’s advantage. With two outs and nobody on center fielder Jonah Todd walked and stole second to move into scoring position. Another Decker single put runners on the corners with two outs and Blake Logan at the plate, but a wild pitch did the job for the Tigers with Todd scoring to make it a five-run lead.
Auburn put the finishing touches on the win with a pair of runs in the bottom of the eighth to slam the door on the Crusaders. Leading things off, Anthony singled and eventually moved to third. From there he cruised home on a Todd triple to left-center. Fittingly it was Decker that closed the scoring with a sacrifice fly to center for a seven-run advantage.
Reliever Corey Herndon pitched a scoreless ninth to secure the victory for the Tigers.
Auburn returns to action Saturday at noon when sophomore Casey Mize takes the mound looking for win number two on the weekend.