Rough Start Spells Doom For Tigers Against BC

Starter Colby Paxton struggled on Saturday and Auburn couldn't connect at the plate, leading to a loss that drops them to 4-1 overall this season.

Auburn, Ala.--Auburn starter Colby Paxton pitched great in his debut last weekend against Western Carolina, but Saturday he had his worst career outings in the Tigers' 11-4 loss to Boston College. Lasting just 2/3 of an inning, he gave up five earned runs on three hits and walked three to take the loss. BC starter Kevin Shepard got the win, giving up just five hits and two runs in five innings. Auburn Coach Steve Renfroe said this game was a tough one because of the early hole his team dug itself into.

"He didn't have one pitch and he couldn't throw it for a strike," Renfroe said of Paxton. "I wish I had an answer for that. I thought he looked really good last week. The last three or four weeks he's been very good. He's a tough kid and works hard. That's a hard one. I think the team was a little stunned and it kind of took them back. You're not even loose it feels like and you're knocked on your heels. Then your fighting uphill and they have a guy that can pitch and they are defending. When they make the defensive plays behind him it's kind of like those body punches, it just wears you out. I think that affected us. You have to tip your hat to them."

Auburn's struggles weren't limited to the mound as the Tigers struck out 11 times on the day and got just eight hits. Despite getting runners on with seven walks, Auburn hitter stranded 11 runners in the game and couldn't get the hit in crucial situations. The Tigers hit just .150 with runners on base and were just 2-16 with runners in scoring position. Renfroe said that offensively his team just didn't get the job done at the plate against a good pitching performance from Boston College.

"I wouldn't say we were pressing," Renfroe said. "There are some guys in there that are new. We had some approaches, I don't think it was pressing as much as it was we softened our approach a little bit where we expanded too early and we were susceptible. They took advantage of that. That's something we're going to have to grow up in. We can't afford to expand the zone in that kind of game because it always affects you down the road. We'll just have to go to work on that."

Third baseman Ben Maitland throws out a BC runner after fielding a ground ball. Shortstop Chuck Jeroloman backs him up on the play.

It didn't take long for the Eagles to put the game away as they jumped on Paxton in the first and didn't let up. While some of the damage was their doing, much of the problems Paxton faced were of his own doing. Leadoff man Josh DiScipio reached on an infield single and from there the merry-go-round was in full operation. Garrett Greer and Ryan Morgan both walked to load the bases for center fielder Drew Locke.

Continuing his hot weekend, Locke drilled a single to center field to score DiScipio with the game's first run. Another walk to Jason Delaney scored Greer. Shortstop Ryan Leahy hit into a fielder's choice to score Morgan and Mike Flynn finished the scoring with a single up the middle. Trailing 4-0, Renfroe removed Paxton from the game just two outs into the first inning. Freshman Jared Shore finished out the first, but Auburn trailed 5-0 after one inning of play.

With Shepard cruising on the mound the Eagles added to the lead in the third inning when Delaney hit a long blast over the green monster in left field. Trailing 6-0 the Tigers finally got on the board in the third inning. With one out right fielder Ben Sprague reached on an infield single and Ben Maitland followed with a walk to give Auburn a runner in scoring position with just one out. After Bruce Edwards struck out, Tug Hulett singled through the right side to score Sprague and get Auburn off the floor.

The good feelings didn't last long as BC stretched the lead out in the fifth inning. Morgan led things off for the Eagles and doubled to right field to bring Locke to the plate. Shore coaxed him into a groundout to Maitland at third, but Morgan was able to advance to third on the play. Delaney came though once again for BC with a single off the foot of Shore to score Morgan. That would be the end of Shore's day as left-hander Ted Bryant came on for the Tigers. He didn't fare any better unfortunately as Leahy singled to put runners on the corners and Wright bombed a three-run home run deep into the BC bullpen. Ahead 10-1 the Eagles would put it on cruise control the rest of the way behind Shepard and reliever Joe Martinez. Both teams would add a single run before Auburn scored two in the bottom of the ninth to make the final 11-4.

Box Score

The rubber game of the series will begin at 11:30 a.m. on Sunday with Auburn freshman Mike Felix taking the mound against All-American candidate Chris Lambert from Boston College. Lambert has been rated as the top professional prospect in the Big East in 2004.


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