Tigers Bury Bulldogs With The Sticks

Auburn found the offense in Tuesday's win over the Samford Bulldogs at Plainsman Park.

Auburn, Ala.--The offensive slump the Tigers found themselves in last weekend against Boston College was gone at least for one day on Tuesday as Auburn pounded out 17 hits on the way to a 11-5 victory over Samford at Plainsman Park. Coach Steve Renfroe said the performance was a good one offensively for his team after struggling against a strong BC pitching staff.

"We had good at-bats," Renfroe said. "When you look at Sunday a lot of people say ‘wow, they got stuffed'. That kid is going to do that to a lot of people. That's baseball. He's a first rounder, but we found a way to win and that speaks to the team. We had solid at-bats today all the way through. I thought we did a good job with two strikes and got some big hits there. We seemed focused and we were off yesterday. We were very solid and that's a good sign when you're team can do that for you."

The Tigers wasted very little time getting on the board as Tug Hulett singled with one out to get the rally started. Josh Bell followed with a solid single to center field to bring the day's hitting star to the plate. Waiting on the pitch, center fielder Clete Thomas drilled a double down the left field line to score Hulett with the game's first run. Sean Gamble put a cap on the scoring in the first with a single up the middle to score both Bell and Thomas. Leading 3-0 the Tigers were in good shape early.

Josh Bell had two hits and pitched two scoreless innings on Tuesday for the Tigers.

While he would eventually get the win on a day when he was designated the starter, Auburn starter Colby Paxton did little to solidify his role as a starter for the Tigers on the weekends. He gave up five hits and one run in three innings of work, but had numerous hard hit ball off him in the outing. Renfroe said the decision has already been made to change the starting rotation for this weekend's series against Hofstra.

"We're going to start Cory (Cory Dueitt) and we're going to go with Arnold (Arnold Hughey), Cory and Felix (Mike Felix)," Renfroe said. "He'll be in the pen (Paxton). He threw three innings and that's about all we wanted no matter what just because we didn't want to extend him and not have him for the weekend. We'll just keep going from there. I think Cory has earned that opportunity now and that's just part of baseball. We'll give Cory a shot on Saturday."

Despite Paxton's uninspiring performance, the Tigers opened the lead up in the second with a single run to make it 4-1 and then blew the game open in the third. With nobody out, Bell singled to right field to bring Thomas to the plate. Driving a pitch, he singled down the left field line to put runners on first and second with nobody out. Following a Gamble pop up, shortstop Chuck Jeroloman drove a pitch deep into left-center for a triple to score both runners and put Auburn up 6-1. A ground ball in the infield would score Jeroloman and just like that Auburn was ahead 7-1 after just three innings of play.

After the Bulldogs got one run back in the top of the fifth, Auburn would put the game out of reach in the bottom half of the inning. With one out Gamble doubled to left field and Jeroloman singled to put runners on the corners for Derek Sain. Sitting on a fastball the sophomore drove it up the middle for a single to score Gamble. Josh Sullivan followed with a single to left to score Jeroloman and Ben Sprague singled home Sain to finish the scoring and make it 10-2 Tigers after five.

Samford would add three runs in the sixth inning off Auburn's Chris Dennis, all coming after Dennis struck out the first two batters of the inning. Designated hitter Sam Stewart got things started with a walk to bring Garrett Rice to the plate. The first baseman singled to right field to put runners on first and second with two outs. Shortstop John Denson then lifted a fly ball into right field that Sprague mis-played. By the time he could find the ball Denson was in for a double and the lead was 10-3. He later scored on a Trey Moody single along with Rice to make it 10-5 Auburn. The Tigers would add an insurance run in the ninth on a sacrifice fly by Ben Maitland to make the final 11-5 and move their record to 6-1. Samford falls to 0-4 on the season.

Thomas and Gamble led the way for the Tigers with three hits each while Bell, Jeroloman, Sain, Sullivan and Sprague all had two hits. In addition to Paxton's day John Madden threw two innings, giving up just one run on one hit. Dennis pitched two innings, giving up three runs on three hits. Bell closed the door on the game, pitching the last two innings perfectly while striking out three.

Box Score

Auburn returns to action this weekend when they host Hofstra in a three-game series. Game times are 3 p.m. on Friday, 2 p.m. on Saturday and 1:30 p.m. on Sunday.

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