Auburn, Ala.--Senior Gabe Klobosits pitched six scoreless innings of relief and got help from Andrew Mitchell and Ryan Watson in a 4-0 Auburn shutout of UAB on Tuesday at Plainsman Park. It was the seventh shutout this season for the Tigers, tops in the country, as they improve to 13-5 on the year.
Auburn started the day on a good note with Mitchell pitching a scoreless first inning. Out since Feb. 26 because of tendonitis, Mitchell throwing again was big for the Tigers as they get ready for SEC play against Florida this weekend.
The day then got even better as Klobosits had his best outing of the season for the Tigers, allowing six hits and no runs. With a strong final two innings from Watson, Coach Butch Thompson said the day couldn’t have gone much better from a pitching standpoint.
“On Sunday afternoon Davis Daniel threw great and we point towards a Tuesday and we get a couple of nice things to happen,” Thompson said. “The shutout number one, and Blake Logan continues to do a good job of calling the game and serving the pitchers well.
“Getting Andrew Mitchell back and for him to come out and throw a clean first inning, I think he wound up throwing all three pitches and landed a couple of breaking balls and showed the fastball velocity.
“Then Gabe Klobosits, his first inning was kind of like his stat sheet. He had pitched seven innings with like 15 hits and had four hard hit barrels. He got out of it and I said ‘we need to make an adjustment’. He started throwing a little bit across his body to right-handers. He really started getting some ground ball action. To throw six innings is huge for him because he had been out for a period of time.”
Since allowing seven runs in the ninth inning in an 11-8 loss to Presbyterian last Friday, Auburn pitching has not given up an earned run in three games. That’s something that Thompson said is a testament to the guys putting in the work.
“I just want them to be accountable,” Thompson said. “I want myself to be accountable. I want my coaches to be accountable. I want our pitchers to be accountable. I do tip my hat and hopefully when they do something positive I’m there to reward them. Just seeing these guys rally around one another, that’s why I never want to see our team get beaten up or having challenges or adversity but I want to make sure we’re learning from them when it does happen.”
Jay Estes turns one of two double plays for the Tigers on the day. That makes 10 in the last seven games for Auburn's defense
At the plate Auburn managed just seven hits with two streaks coming to an end. Reaching base safety in 32 straight games, senior Daniel Robert went 0-4. The same is true of leadoff man Jonah Todd, who has reached safely in every game this season for the Tigers.
Auburn got the scoring started in the first and it was third baseman Josh Anthony that put things into motion with a one-out single to center field. With two outs Dylan Ingram reached on an error and it would be the last batter for UAB starter Tanner Graham. Already dealing with shoulder problems, he was pulled in favor of reliever Austin Thomas and catcher Blake Logan greeted him with a double to score both runners for the 2-0 lead.
With Klobosits cruising on the mound the Tigers added to their lead in the sixth with two more runs, both coming with two outs. On first after reaching on a fielder’s choice, Jay Estes was off to the races when Luke Jarvis smashed a double to left-center and scored easily for a three-run lead.
Pinch-hitting with a chance to do some damage, freshman Conor Davis ripped a single up the middle to score Jarvis and give Auburn a four-run advantage with three innings remaining. Following a scoreless seventh from Klobosits, Watson pitched two perfect innings to secure the win for the Tigers.
McGuffin and Jarvis led the way with two hits each for the Tigers with Logan driving in two of Auburn’s four runs.
Auburn returns to action on Wednesday at 3 p.m. with the Tigers facing Jacksonville State at Plainsman Park.