Auburn, Ala.--The Auburn Tigers (14-5) scored seven runs in the fifth inning and freshman pitcher Christian Camacho allowed just one run on four hits in five innings of work as Coach Butch Thompson’s team routed Jacksonville State 10-1 on Wednesday.
Coming off a five-inning performance a week ago against South Alabama, Camacho again delivered on Wednesday and helped save Auburn’s bullpen for SEC play in the process. Allowing just four hits and striking out four on 77 pitches, Camacho picked up his first career win and along with relievers Calvin Coker, Elliott Anderson and Daniel Sprinkle gave Thompson all he could have wanted on the day.
"I'm pleased," Thompson said. "I don't think Christian was as good as he was last week and hit a couple of batters, but boy he pitched out of first and third there early and just competed. With where we were and for him to get into the fifth inning for two consecutive weeks and leave us in good shape and with our offense responding with those seven runs, I couldn't be more pleased with this small window of time from where we were. I'm tickled to death. Coker got an inning that he needs to keep getting back on track. Then a couple of young guys, Elliott Anderson and to see the ball come out of Sprinkle's hand good there was positive for us."
At the plate freshman Will Holland led the way with three hits while Jay Estes, Daniel Robert and Damon Haecker added two hits each. Haecker drove in three for the Tigers while Robert added his second home run of the season.
Finishing the week with a pair of wins over UAB and Jacksonville State, Auburn is in good shape heading into SEC play said the veteran Haecker.
"It's huge," Haecker said. "We've got a lot of new guys but we do have a lot of older leadership that has been around the block. I think we're playing well and everyone is going to continue to do their job. I think that's a big thing going into SEC play, winning these back-to-back."
Down 1-0 after Trent Simpson led off with a double and scored on a groundout in the second inning for the Gamecocks, Auburn went to work in the third against JSU starter Michael McCreless. Leading off, Luke Jarvis smashed a triple to center field and scored on a Haecker groundout to tie the game.
In the fourth Auburn took the lead when Daniel Robert smashed a deep home run over the right field wall. Just missing a homer two pitches earlier, the senior took an 0-2 pitch down the line for his second homer of the year to make it a 2-1 advantage for the Tigers.
That set the table for Auburn’s huge fifth inning to put the game away. Leading off and batting from the right side, Haecker smashed a ball off the wall in left field for a single to get the inning started. Already with a triple to his credit, Will Holland sliced a single to right field and when Jay Estes reached on a bunt single the bases were loaded with nobody out.
Back-to-back walks to Jonah Todd and Josh Anthony forced across a pair of runs before a Robert fly ball to left made it 5-1 Auburn. Keeping the heat on, freshman Conor Davis smashed a single through the left side to score two more runs. Later in the inning Haecker’s second hit, this one as a left-hander, added his second and third RBI of the game and put the Tigers in front by eight.
Auburn put the finishing touches on the offensive outing in the seventh with an Estes single scoring Jeremy Johnson for the 10th run of the game for the Tigers. Johnson led off the inning with a single to left, his first career hit at Auburn.
The Tigers return to action this weekend with a three-game series at home against the No. 5 Florida Gators to open SEC play. Game times for the series are set for 6 p.m. on Friday, 2 p.m. on Saturday and 1 p.m. on Sunday.