Tigers Come Up Short In Loss To Mountaineers

Auburn had its chances, but couldn't capitalize in a 4-2 loss to Appalachian State.

Auburn, Ala.--After scoring 17 runs in a Tuesday win over Appalachian State, Auburn managed just a pair of runs on Wednesday as the Mountaineers defeated the Tigers 4-2 to split the two-game series at Plainsman Park. The loss drops Auburn to 11-5 overall while Appalachian State improves to 8-7.

The story of the game was the pitching of Appalachian State starter Aubrey Edens and his bullpen mates Adam Mills and Garrett Sherrill. Earning the win, Edens gave up two runs on five hits in five innings. Mills came on to pitch three scoreless innings while Sherrill got the save in the ninth.

Auburn's only offense came from a trio of players as Joseph Sanders and Ben Jones each had three hits while Hunter Morris added two hits for the Tigers. Luke Greinke was the only other Tiger to get a hit in the game as Auburn stranded 11 base runners on the night. Coach Tommy Slater said you've got to credit the ASU pitchers, but it wasn't a good night of offense for his club.

"They did a nice job," Slater said. "Credit App State. They came out tonight and really pitched well. We need to do a better job. We had opportunities. Really for the first time in a while, we played a lot of baseball here in the last week, we did not capitalize."

On the mound Auburn got two good innings from Cory Luckie to start things off, but sophomore Taylor Thompson struggled mightily as he gave up all four runs on four hits in just one and one/third innings to take the loss. Bradley Hendrix, Michael Hurst, Evan Crawford and Bryan Woodall were all solid in relief, but it wasn't enough on this night.

"Cory did exactly what we wanted him to," Slater said. "He went out and gave us a nice two inning start. I thought Hendrix really gutted it out for us and did a great job. Hurst, Craw and Woody are what they are. They did a great job."

Auburn's only offense early came via the walk as freshman center fielder Trent Mummey worked a base on balls to open the game and Mike Bianucci did the same to give the Tigers a threat in the first. Following a Morris fly ball that moved Mummey to third, Sanders' ground ball to short scored Mummey with the game's first run to give Auburn the early lead.

Joseph Sanders drives home Trent Mummey with one of Auburn's two runs on the night.

It would be a short-lived lead for the Tigers as Thompson entered following two scoreless innings by Luckie and proceeded to give up four runs to Appalachian State before he exited the game. In the third with one out in the inning he gave up a single Adam Beasley and the catcher advanced to second on a wild pitch. After getting a fly ball for out two, Thompson walked Jason Altenhof to bring right fielder Jason Rook to the plate. Entering the game with one home run, Rook quickly doubled his total with a bomb to left field. Now leading 3-1, the Mountaineers' Edens settled into a groove on the mound.

Allowing just three hits through the first five innings, Edens' advantage was four heading to the bottom of the sixth after a single run scored in the fourth. Back to back singles off Thompson brought Hendrix in from the bullpen. Although he retired the first two batters he faced, both put the ball in play allowing a run to score to make it 4-1 ASU.

Opening Auburn's half of the sixth, designated hitter Greinke singled to left field to get things started. The Tigers then put the runner in motion as Greinke ran on the pitch with Jones at the plate. Continuing his solid play, Jones lined a double into center field that allowed Greinke to score to cut the lead to 4-2. That was the end of the day for Edens as Mills came on in relief for the Mountaineers.

The sidearm right hander did his job for Appalachian State as first he struck out third baseman David Cunningham. Moving into scoring position by stealing third base, Jones would be stranded as Matt Hall struck out and a diving Mummey was just throw out at first base to end the Auburn threat.

Another threat came in the seventh as Auburn got two runners on with just one out after singles by Morris and Sanders, but a Jenkins double play brought the inning to a close and left the Tigers down two with just two innings remaining. Crawford came on to pitch a perfect top of the eight and the Auburn offense responded in the bottom of the inning.

With one out in the inning Jones continued his tear at the plate with a double into the corner in right field. Cunningham looked like he would cut into the lead with a liner to right, but Rook's running grab kept Jones at second and the lead at two. A Hall fly ball to Rook brought the inning to a close. That would it as close as the Tigers would come as Sherrill shut down Auburn in the ninth with only a Morris single to show for the effort.

Auburn opens SEC play this weekend at Florida (11-3). Game times for the three-game series are 5:30 on Friday night, 2 p.m. on Saturday and 12:30 p.m. on Sunday.

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