In his first outing of the 2008 season, Auburn sophomore pitcher Austin Hubbard struggled some but picked up the win after allowing two runs on six hits in five innings. Relievers Michael Hurst, Bradley Hendrix, Evan Crawford and Bryan Woodall each contributed a scoreless inning of relief, good news for Auburn Coach Tommy Slater.
"It was a little struggle early, but he settled in a little bit," Slater says of Hubbard. "We got him a lot of runs and he was able to calm his nerves. He got a couple of double play balls, which was big. I think the pitching story of the weekend was our bullpen. I thought our bullpen was big every day."
Things got off to rocky start on Monday as a struggle in the first inning was overcome by Hubbard as he recovered to only give up one run. Auburn came back with offensive fireworks in the bottom of the inning to give him an early cushion. Leading off, Mummey ripped a single up the middle and one out later moved to third on a scorched double by Bianucci. A pop up by Hunter Morris for the second out of the inning brought Joseph Sanders to the plate.
Trent Mummey had three hits and scored two runs for the Tigers on Monday.
Hitting a hot shot at the third baseman, Sanders reached when his throw was wild at first base. Both Mummey and Bianucci scored on the error to put Auburn up 2-1.
Back-to-back walks to Kevin Patterson and Matt Hall brought freshman catcher Tony Caldwell to the plate and the freshman delivered with a long double to left field that emptied the bases. Just like that Auburn led 5-1.
Yet another tough inning for Hubbard in the second yielded only one run as he gave up consecutive singles to open the inning, but settled down and got out of trouble with minimal damage. That gave the Tigers a chance to extend the lead in the bottom of the inning and they did just that.
With two outs and nobody on base, Bianucci was hit by a pitch to bring Morris to the plate. Going with the pitch, Morris lifted it over the left field wall for his first home run of the season. The blast gave Auburn a commanding 7-2 lead going to the third inng.
Hubbard pitched a scoreless third and fourth, giving a chance for his offense to put the game away in its fourth at bat. Leading off, Mummey again came through as his third hit of the game got things started. A stolen base put him into scoring position for Brian Fletcher and he came through with a single to left to make it 8-2 Auburn.
Moving to second on a passed ball, Fletcher scored on a single by Bianucci to left field. A walk to Morris followed to bring Sanders to the plate. Hitting a high hopper to third that was misplayed, Sanders reached to load the bases for Patterson. Patterson hit the ball hard, but right at the ETSU first baseman. He threw home to retire Bianucci, but the catcher's throw back to first sailed into right field to score Morris and Sanders and give Auburn a 11-2 lead.
"I thought Saturday, Sunday and today was a nice job top to bottom by our lineup," Slater says. "There were a lot of quality at bats. Even our outs were loud outs, which was good to see."
With the relievers cruising on the mound the Tigers coasted to the victory. The final run of the game came courtesy of junior Ben Jones. In left field in place of Fletcher, Jones hit a deep home run to right field in the eighth inning to make the final score 12-2.
Auburn returns to action Thursday at 6 p.m. when the Tigers take on 13th-ranked Florida State at Plainsman Park. The teams will play Thursday and Friday in Auburn before traveling to Tallahassee to play the final two games of the series on Saturday and Sunday.