Auburn, Ala.- The Auburn Tigers got their second straight shutout and did it in impressive fashion on Saturday afternoon in a 4-0 victory over the Holy Cross Crusaders.
After walking the first batter he faced, sophomore Casey Mize (2-0) had an impressive day for the Tigers on the mound. Going five innings, he allowed four hits, a walk, and struck out 12 before turning things over to senior Cole Lipscomb to finish off the win. Mize’s 12 strike outs are the most for an Auburn starting pitcher since Keegan Thompson struck out 12 against Alabama in the Capital City Classic in Montgomery on March 3 in 2015.
Not to be outdone, Lipscomb took the mound for Auburn and secured his second save of the season. Pitching the final four innings, he had four strikeouts and did not allow a run. Lipscomb has now thrown nine scoreless innings this season, picking up a win and a pair of saves in the process.
The 16 combined strikeouts is the most for an Auburn pitching staff since February 28, 2010. Auburn’s pitching this weekend against Holy Cross has allowed seven hits and have struck out 23 without allowing a run.
It didn't start out that way for the Tigers on Saturday with Mize struggling to find his control early on, but he quickly turned it around.
“Early in the game, my body felt out of sync a little bit," Mize said. "I just wasn’t feeling as good as last week. Just felt a little off. I finally got
settled by the third inning and I felt really good.
“Going deep in counts is definitely something I don’t want to do and it got me frustrated a little bit but it allowed me to get some punch outs and some swing and
“Days like today are good. I’m kind of glad it happened so I can make that adjustment and build off of it.”
For Auburn Coach Butch Thompson seeing Mize come back from his early struggles showed him a pitcher that is continuing to grow and mature on the mound.
“He was up early and it was just fighting," Thompson said. "The ball was coming out great. He did get more efficient. He had 12 strikeouts. That’s hard to create low pitch counts when you’re getting a lot of swing and miss.”
In addition to Mize, Lipscomb had a big day on the mound and it just continues a change in roles for the senior. A starter each of the last two years, Lipscomb has been working exclusively out of the bullpen since fall practice and that has paid off.
“You know, somebody who has thrown 167 innings over the last two years to someone who has an SEC graduate patch on their left sleeve, for them to do
something for the team, I’m happy he embraced it," his coach said.
At the plate Auburn had just five hits on Saturday, but made them pay off with four runs. Jonah Todd led the way with two of the five hits while freshmen Conor Davis and Will Holland both reached base four times.
The Tigers got the scoring started in the second when designated hitter Dylan Ingram was walked. He advanced to second after Davis was walked as well. Ingram scored by way of a Damon Haecker double and was the first Tiger to put a run on the board.
A walk got things going for Auburn in the fourth inning as well. It was Davis who reached first then advanced to second after a Haecker was it by a pitch. After a Holland walk, a Todd single scored Davis. Luke Jarvis was walked the following at bat with the bases loaded and scored Haecker to make it a three-run lead.
Holland’s walk in the fourth inning was one of his four at bats where he reached base today. He was walked twice, singled in the sixth, and was hit by a pitch in the eighth. Coach Thompson said, “He took what they gave him. I love watching him play.”
Bo Decker reached first base by way of an error in the fifth inning. He stole second and scored on a Davis single.
The losing pitcher for Holy Cross was Brendan King, the preseason pitcher of the year for the Patriot Conference. He went three and two/thirds innings and walked seven batters while only striking out one and allowing three earned runs.
Auburn goes for the sweep against Holy Cross on Sunday at Plainsman Park at noon. Davis Daniel will get the start for the Tigers with the first pitch set for noon.