Auburn, Ala. – Trailing for much of the day, the Auburn Tigers scored four runs in the eighth inning to come back and take the series-clinching win against Lipscomb 5-4.
Auburn Senior Cole Lipscomb may have put it best by saying, “In my time at Auburn, that’s probably one of the better team wins that I’ve been a part of.”
Following the win Coach Butch Thompson said, “You know, any win feels good. We met with our team in the eighth inning and talked about the storyline of the ball game. Passatino, we give him a tip of the hat. We have not struck out ten times in a ball game this year.”
Lipscomb’s starter and the Cape Cod League Pitcher of the Year Jeffrey Passantino, gave the Tigers a hard time at the plate. He struck out eight and only allowed one run to the Tigers, but they stuck to the plan and made it pay off late.
Auburn entered the bottom of the eighth inning down 4-1. Coach Thompson rought his team together before the Tigers went to bat and had some specific words for his team.
“We got together going into the bottom half of the eighth inning,” Thompson said of what he told his club. “ We talked about how good Lipscomb’s starting pitcher was. We talked about how we made a couple of miscues.”
Auburn started the eighth with a walk courtesy of Conor Davis. Jonah Todd singled and Daniel Robert drew a walk. A Josh Anthony single got the Tigers within two. A Dylan Ingram single scored Todd and a Luke Jarvis single was enough to earn a 5-4 lead for the Tigers.
Auburn’s Lipscomb finished off the win for the Tigers in the ninth.
After not allowing allowing a run this season in two previous starts, Auburn starter Casey Mize’s outing lasted six innings, he allowed five hits, and two runs, one earned. He also struck out nine batters.
Thompson had high praise for his Saturday starter saying, “I don’t know if I’ve seen him look better. I thought he had three pitches going. I’m not so sure he’s pitched any better in his short career for us.”
The miscues that Thompson mentioned helped Lipscomb get on the board early with a Jay Estes error on the first at bat in the afternoon. Two singles later, that error caused Auburn to trail 1-0 at the end of the first inning.
Auburn got close to getting on the board and answering Lipscomb with Anthony starting the Tigers’ second stint at the plate with a double. Luke Jarvis singled to advance Anthony to third base and Jarvis stole second for the second time on the season. The two Tigers were left on base after Bowen McGuffin and Ingram could not get on base to bring them home.
After six straight strikeouts by Mize, he gave up his first earned run of the season as Auburn trailed the Bisons by two in the third inning.
Lipscomb (2-0) took over for Auburn to start the seventh and he would go the distance. His three innings of work resulted in three hits, two runs, and four strikeouts.
“I thought he showed competitiveness. I thought he stuff was better in the ninth than the eighth. He could smell a victory,” said Thompson on Lipscomb.
It took Auburn until the fifth inning to score its first run and it started with two outs. After two quick outs, Damon Haecker reached base on an error. Sam Gillikin was walked and Haecker eventually scored thanks to a Todd single. That got the Tigers within one and they would eventually pull out the comeback victory.
A junior college transfer, Ingram said it was a big day for the team.
“Our team has put so much into the season going back all the way to the fall back when half the team didn’t know each other,” Ingram said. “You get down like that. We’re never going to give up in a game even if we come out on the other end of it. We’re never going to quit on each other because we mean too much to each other.”
His coach echoed his sentiments on the come-from-behind victory.
“I think they build more character,” Thompson said. “ I want all the experiences. I want them to feel like they can play a very clean baseball game because that’s part of our identity. I want them to feel like they can come from behind. I want them to feel like they got hit in the mouth and come back tomorrow. I just like how the season has shaped up.”
The Tigers go for the series sweep against Lipscomb tomorrow at noon at Plainsman Park. Freshman Davis Daniel gets the start for Auburn.