On a night when six Auburn pitchers combined to give up 17 hits and six runs to the Trojans, it was the offense that had very little success on Tuesday night. No Tiger player had more than one hit and Auburn struck out eight times against Troy in the baseball loss.
Auburn coach Tommy Slater said it wasn't a good night for his team as it fell for the 10th time in the last 12 games.
"They came in here with a five-something ERA and we muster six hits and three runs," Slater said. "Not a very good night at the plate for us at all."
On the mound Taylor Thompson got the start and pitched a scheduled one inning, giving up a run on two hits. Luke Greinke followed with two solid innings, allowing just one hit. Michael Hurst again struggled, giving up four runs on five hits in one inning of work.
"Right now he's a little bit snakebit," Slater said. "He's getting gorked, he's getting blooped, he's getting all those things to death...Mike is a little snakebit right now. The reason I hate it for Michael is that he's a great kid. Everybody in here believes in him. He's a stud. He absolutely wears it personally. It bothers him deeply. He gets really upset and I hate it for him."
Troy got on the board first off Thompson as Adam Bryant led off the game with an infield single. With two outs Thompson hit Michael Precise with a pitch to move a runner into scoring position. That proved to be big as Brooks ripped a double down the right field line to put the Trojans up 1-0.
Auburn answered back in the second although some questionable base running cost the Tigers a run. Leading things off David Cunningham singled through the left side. A walk to Kevin Patterson followed to give the Tigers runners on first and second, but Cunningham was thrown out attempting to reach third on a wild pitch for out number one. Matt Hall then doubled home Patterson to tie the game at one.
Two solid innings by Greinke got Auburn to the fourth, but Hurst had his second consecutive struggle on the mound in the inning as with one out Brock Kelly's infield single got the Trojans going. Brett Pierce followed with a single up the middle, but Hurst recovered to get Bryant on a pop up for out number two. It didn't matter though as Steven Felix singled to right field to score a run and Bryan Miller followed with a double to score two more and make it 4-1 Troy.
The Tigers got a run back in the bottom of the fourth thanks to Brian Fletcher. Jumping on the first pitch, the freshman hit a bomb over the scoreboard in left field for his sixth home run of the season. The blast cut the lead back to 4-2, but just as quickly Troy got the run back in the top of the fifth on a solo shot by Brooks to right field off Hurst. It was his seventh of the season and first of two of the game.
Auburn again cut the lead back in the sixth as Cunningham was hit by a pitch to open the inning. One out later an error by Brett Henry at third base put runners on first and second for the Tigers. Following a Justin Hargett pop up, Tony Caldwell's ground ball to Bryant at short was booted. The error allowed Cunningham to score and cut Troy's lead back to 5-3. It would again only be short-lived as Brooks came through with his second homer of the game, this time to center field off Crawford, to push the lead back to 6-3 in the seventh.
Twice already Auburn had hit into double plays to hurt the chances of having big innings on offense. It happened again in the bottom of the seventh with the Tigers trying to get back in the game. Following a Mike Bianucci walk, Joseph Sanders hit into a double play to squash Auburn's hopes. Woodall came on in the eighth and immediately gave up back to back hits to put runners on the corners with nobody out, but he got out of the inning with two strikeouts and a groundout to end the inning. Auburn didn't threaten off Troy closer Josh Storm as he pitched the final one and two/thirds to pick up his eighth save of the season.
The Tigers return to action this weekend with a three-game series against the Mississippi State Bulldogs at Plainsman Park. Slater said he's hopeful he'll have first baseman Hunter Morris back after sitting him out both on Sunday and Tuesday night with a sore side.
Things may not be any better on the mound though as Corey Luckie is scheduled to have an MRI done on his forearm on Wednesday. Slater said that has his weekend rotation still somewhat up in the air with Greinke a possibility for Sunday if he hasn‘t thrown to that point.
"Taylor is going to start Saturday," Slater said. "I'm sure we'll TBA Sunday because again whatever we need to do in the first two to get a win we'll do. If that means Luke gets an inning or two in the eighth we'll do that. We're asking an awful lot of Evan and Woody right now, both of them having to throw two innings like they did tonight and then throw on the weekends. Bryan is a stud he gutted it out for us, they both did tonight."