Senior Ben Jones led a 15-hit Auburn attack with four hits and five RBI, both of which are career highs, but it was on the mound where the noise was made.
In his first career outing, big freshman Dexter Price gave up just two runs on five hits in six innings and struck out four to earn the victory in a starting role. Auburn coach John Pawlowski said for him it was all about finding a groove and battling the nerves early in the contest.
"It starts with Dexter Price," Pawlowski said. "He went out there as a freshman in his first collegiate start and I think he did a great job. He was around the plate, six innings, I think he had one walk. He looked really composed and had a lot of poise out there on the mound. That certainly set the tone for us."
In addition to Jones offensively, four Auburn players had two hits for the game led by catcher Tony Caldwell's two home runs. Trent Mummey was 2-5 with five runs scored while Kevin Patterson had two hits including a home run. Justin Hargett also added two hits and two runs scored for the Tigers. Jones said it was just a good game for the Auburn offense.
"We were hot tonight," Jones said. "We swung the bats well and got on base with walks and hit by pitches. We had a really efficient offense tonight."
Ben Jones had a huge day for the Tigers at the plate.
Auburn wasn't little time getting the offense rolling on Tuesday despite not having powerful sophomore Hunter Morris in the lineup because of a stiff back suffered lifting weights. Leading things off, Mummey doubled to right field and that was the start of a big inning for the Tigers. Joseph Sanders followed with a single to center field to score Mummey and bring Jones to the plate.
Getting a pitch to drive, the senior lifted the ball over the right field wall for his first home run of the season. The blast was the first in 364 days for Jones and gave Auburn a 3-0 lead. Patterson added a solo shot later in the inning to give Price a comfortable four-run lead.
In the second it was again Mummey and Jones in the middle of things for the Auburn offense. Leading off again after the Tigers batted around in the first, Mummey was hit by a pitch and moved to third with one out on a hit and run single by Jones. Running from first, Jones was thrown out at second base, but the throw allowed Mummey to score to make it 5-0 Tigers.
Another solo home run by Caldwell in the bottom of the third built to the Auburn lead, which would be blown open in the fourth thanks to wild pitching from Lipscomb. Three hit batters and singles by Jamie Drinkard and Jones pushed four more across for the Tigers to build the lead to 10-0 for Price.
Lipscomb finally got on the board in the top of the sixth, his last inning of work. Facing the top of the order, Price gave up a single to Tyler Wilson and then hit Allen Bolden by a pitch to bring Justin Sanders to the plate. Hitting .455 coming into the contest, Sanders doubled to left field to score both runners and break up the shutout. Price settled down to get out of the inning without any more damage and keep the lead at eight.
Auburn wasn't done offensively as the four more came across in the sixth with Jones and Patterson both driving home runs. Caldwell's second homer of the day in the seventh was part of the three-run inning and the final runs of the day for the Tigers. Lipscomb added two runs off freshman pitcher Zach Blatt in the ninth to make the final 17-4 Auburn.
The Tigers return to action beginning Thursday at 5 p.m. in Tallahassee against the Top 10 Florida State Seminoles. That is the first of four games against FSU with the final two on Saturday and Sunday in Auburn.
Pawlowski said playing well on Tuesday was big for his team heading into a weekend series with Florida State.
"It's a good feeling going into a very tough weekend," Pawlowski said. "Florida State is one of the Top 5 teams in the country. Going into their home territory will be a great challenge for us. That's what the SEC is all about going into that type of environment. It will be a good test for us."