Panthers Torch Tigers In Series Opener

Birmingham-Southern pitcher Brandon Hynick dominated the Tigers Friday night, striking out 11 and walking none in seven innings.

Auburn, Ala.--Birmingham-Southern starter Brandon Hynick allowed just one run in seven innings and threw 125 pitches as the Panthers defeated the Auburn Tigers 6-1 Friday night at Plainsman Park. The loss drops Auburn to 8-9 overall while BSU improves to 4-7.

For Auburn the loss comes despite a solid pitching performance from true freshman starter Bryan Woodall. Allowing three runs on seven hits in five and two/thirds innings, Woodall kept the Tigers in the game. Coach Tommy Slater said that on this night Hynick was just too good for his team.

"He did a nice job," Slater said. "We came out ready to play. I thought we had a lot of energy there in the first inning. We put a lot of pitches in him, 33. When you do that you think you're going to win the war of attrition, get him out early. He did a nice job. The split finger was real good for him tonight. Our kids played hard. I'm not disappointed in our effort whatsoever. We got beat.

"Woodall was outstanding," he added. "He just keeps getting better. He's a three-pitch mix that throws the breaking ball for strikes and the change-up is good to left-handers. He had the one inning there where he left a couple of balls up, but he settled in after that with a big strikeout in the sixth."

The Tigers got on the board first thanks to some clutch two-out hitting by the middle of the Auburn order. After Tyler Johnstone and Russell Dixon were both sat down to start the bottom of the first, Josh Donaldson singled to left to get things going. First baseman Andy Bennett followed with a single of his own to put runners on first and second and bring Jeff Boutwell to the plate.

Getting jammed on an inside fastball, Boutwell pulled the ball into the hole at shortstop and just beat the throw to first base for an infield single. Being heads-up on the play, Johnstone never slowed down from second base and scored easily to put the Tigers ahead 1-0.

Cruising through the first two innings, Woodall ran into trouble in the third against the Panthers. Leading off, number nine hitter Ronny Woods singled and was moved to second on a sacrifice bunt by Mark Goforth. Scott Billak followed with a double that easily scored Woods to tie the game at one. Following the second out of the inning, a double by Hynick and a single by Blake Burton pushed across two more runs to put Birmingham-Southern up 3-1.

With Hynick cruising on the mound the Tigers couldn't get anything going as he dominated from the first inning on. His last inning would be the seventh as he left with nothing but zeroes against Auburn and only allowed six hits, all of which came with two outs. Leading just 3-1 the Panthers would add to the lead in the top of the eighth off Auburn reliever Johnny Thompson.

In his third inning of work, Thompson gave up a double to Billy Froelich to lead off the inning, setting up the Panthers. Moving to third on a wild pitch, Froelich would get some company on the bases as Hynick was hit by a pitch to put runners on the corners with Burton coming to the plate. Thompson would get him on a pop up, but wouldn't be as fortunate as Allen Aubin singled home Hynick to make it five runs for Birmingham-Southern. They would add a single run in the ninth on the way to the 6-1 victory.

Auburn was led at the plate by Donaldson and Bennett, who each had two hits. For the game the Tigers had just seven hits while BSU had 10 hits.

The teams return to action Saturday at 4 p.m. when sophomore Brett Butts takes the mound for the Tigers as they look to end a four-game losing streak.

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