Long Ball Tigers Complete Sweep Over Marshall

Auburn hitters pounded out four home runs and three doubles in a 15-6 win over the Marshall Thundering Herd Sunday.

Auburn, Ala.--It was déjà vu all over again for the Auburn Tigers as the hitting of Trent Pratt and Bobby Huddleston in the middle of the lineup carried Coach Steve Renfroe's club to a 15-6 win Sunday afternoon.

The win completed a sweep of the Marshall Thundering Herd over the weekend and moves the Tigers to 6-1 on the season while Marshall falls to 0-5.

Following a three double day on Saturday, Pratt continued his hot ways with a perfect 3-for-3 day on Sunday that included a pair of home runs and six runs batted in. Huddleston was also solid with two hits, including a home run, and three runs batted in. The Tigers clubbed four home runs on the day and had 12 hits. While the entire lineup was solid all weekend, there was little doubt the middle of the order was the difference for Auburn as the Tigers completed the dominating sweep over out-manned Marshall.

"That's the presence we're going to need," Renfroe said of the productivity from Pratt and Huddleston on the weekend. "We're going to need it especially as we get down the road in our conference because it's a physical league and we're going to face some first and second round arms everywhere we go...their presence is going to be needed for us to be a good SEC team."

If their presence the remainder of the season is anything like it was this weekend, Auburn fans can look forward to happy times of the Plains. In the three games Pratt was 8-for-12 with two home runs, three doubles, 11 runs batted in and had an on base percentage of .714. Not to be outdone, Huddleston was 7-for-12 with two home runs, three doubles and eight runs batted in. Not bad for a weekend's work.

"It was a great team effort today," Pratt said. "For us to come out and play defense the way we did and swing the bat better, that's the exciting thing. Not taking anything away from Marshall, but we'll face better teams but guys were locked in. No one really looked past them and played hard today...I feel pretty good. There are still some little things I need to work on. A couple of times my takes weren't real good, but I saw the ball good today and I guess that's all that counts. But, this day is over and now we have to start worrying about Troy State on Tuesday."

The pitching performance on Sunday was also solid as starter Colby Paxton threw five innings, allowing just four hits and two runs, to pick up his second win of the young season. Giving way to reliever Reid Price in the sixth, the sophomore came up with his second consecutive solid start and Renfroe said he was pleased with what he saw out of the big right-hander.

Starter Colby Paxton throws a pitch during Sunday's game.

"I thought he looked good," Renfroe said of Paxton. "He just had a little more than they did early, but he got sloppy. That's where he has to become a pitcher. In that time of the game, the fourth, fifth, and sixth innings, he has to get over the hump and he knows that. I think he'll do that. It was just one of those outings that I thought was solid but not great. I think it was certainly something to build on and I think you'll see another level next weekend."

For this weekend the level of play was a notch above what Marshall could deliver. Once again it was all Auburn early as, after a scoreless first and second, Pratt jump-started the Tiger offense in the third. Javon Moran got the inning started when he legged out an infield single and quickly stole second base to put the pressure on Marshall starter Chris Fritz.

After a walk to Tug Hulett, Pratt had the first of his big blasts with a shot over the monster in left field to give Auburn the 3-0 lead. Later a sacrifice fly by Scott Schade to left field scored Huddleston from third after an earlier double and the Tigers had the early 4-0 lead.

Javon Moran coasts home following Pratt's home run.

That would stretch in the fourth when Huddleston delivered his second home run in as many days with Pratt aboard to give Auburn the six-run lead. Marshall would get those two back in the top of the fifth inning before the Tigers would strike again. Still leading 6-2 heading to the bottom of the sixth inning, Auburn was hoping to put the game away and began that process by scoring a run on a groundout by Huddleston to make the score 7-2. It was in the seventh when the door was slammed shut by the Tigers.

Leading off, left fielder Mike Mueller singled up the middle before being replaced by Sean Gamble at first. Gamble's speed didn't matter as Schade bombed the next pitch deep off the scoreboard in left center for his first home run of the season that gave Auburn a 9-2 lead. Shortstop Chuck Jeroloman reached on an error with the next at-bat and a Moran single up the middle put runners on first and second. Both runners would advance on a wild pitch before an infield single by Jonathan Schuerholz plated Jeroloman for the 10th Tiger run of the game.

Pratt would come through once again as he bombed one deep over the monster in left field for a three-run home run and a 13-2 Auburn lead. Auburn would add two more runs while Marshall scored three in the eighth and one in the ninth to make the final 15-6 Tigers.

Auburn returns to action Tuesday when the Tigers face the Troy State Trojans at 3 p.m. inside beautiful Plainsman Park. Getting the start for the Tigers will be sophomore Eric Brandon. The former starter and current closer will get his first start since early in the SEC season last year in an attempt to get him ready for a potential starting role in the coming weeks.

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