It's Bombs Away As Tigers Down Brown

Auburn blasted four first-inning home runs on the way to an 11-2 victory over Brown Friday night.

Auburn, Ala.--Auburn homered four times in the first inning and added another blast in the third as the Tigers pounded Brown 11-2 to open a four-game baseball series Friday night at Plainsman Park.

Sophomore Brian Fletcher homered twice while Trent Mummey, Joseph Sanders and Casey McElroy also played long ball as the Tigers improve to 6-4 on the season.

"I told out guys, that was the best offensive approach we had early in the game all season," coach John Pawlowski said. "Not just because we hit four home runs in an inning, which you don't see too often, but I thought we eliminated his breaking ball and really got some fastballs to hit. They put some really good swings on it early in the game."

While the offense stole the show, Auburn starting pitcher Grant Dayton was solid in earning his first win of the season on the mound. Throwing 102 pitches in seven innings, the sophomore allowed one earned run on six hits and struck out six. Taylor Thompson came on to pitch two scoreless innings of relief for the Tigers. Pawlowski said it was a big night on the mound for his team.

"Grant did a good job," Pawlowski said. "We didn't play great defense. We kicked it around a little bit. His composure showed because he was able to pitch through that. We didn't have a clean defensive game, but he pitched through it. We got seven strong innings out of him. It was good to see Taylor Thompson back out there."

Grant Dayton earned the win on the mound for the Tigers.

Offensively Fletcher had two of Auburn's five home runs, pushing Auburn's total to 25 on the season. That is second in the country at the moment. Tied for the national lead with Alabama's Kent Matthes is Sanders, who hit his seventh of the season Friday night. Fletcher said he was glad to finally start hitting the ball hard after a rough start to the season.

"It's a good jump for me," Fletcher said. "I thought I was seeing the ball pretty well, especially my first at-bat. It started carrying over through the next couple and I was lucky enough that the ball got out. I was pretty happy about it."

Brian Fletcher hit his second and third home runs of the season for the Tigers.

It didn't take long for the Tigers to break out the hitting sticks in Friday night's contest as Mummey led off the bottom of the first with is fifth home run of the season to put Auburn on the board. Not to be outdone, Sanders followed with a titanic blast over the monster in left field for his seventh. With the 2-0 lead, Auburn put the hammer down to put this one out of reach early.

With the bases clear, right fielder Ben Jones singled to right field and a walk to Tony Caldwell got the Tigers going again. After a Kevin Patterson fly ball, Fletcher got a pitch to drive and launched it high over the left field wall. His second bomb of the season put the Tigers up 5-0. Things still weren't done in the first though as Wes Gilmer was hit by a pitch to bring McElroy to the plate. The freshman put number four on the board as he shot to left cleared the wall. It was his second of the season and put Auburn up 7-0.

Auburn added to the lead in the third and once again the long ball was the key. Leading off the inning, Fletcher went the opposite way into the Brown bullpen for his second of the game and third of the season. Leading 8-0, Dayton was cruising on the mound and had yet to give up a hit.

That lasted until one out in the fifth when Brown's Robert Papenhause singled to left field to break up the no hitter. It wasn't until the sixth that the Bears finally got on the board though. Leading off the inning, Ryan Zrenda singled to right and Dan Shapiro followed with a single of his own to give Brown some life against Dayton. Matt Nuzzo's ground ball off Patterson's glove at first base allowed the first run to score and advance the runners into scoring position. A sacrifice fly plated the second run of the inning to cut the Auburn lead to 8-2, but that's all the Bears would get in this one.

Unfazed by Brown's outburst, Auburn came back with three in the bottom of the sixth as McElroy got things going with a triple to center field. Justin Hargett followed with a double to score McElroy. A Mummey triple then pushed across run number two. A Jones sacrifice fly finished the scoring for the inning with Auburn holding a commanding 11-2 advantage. Thompson came on to shut the door on Brown with two scoreless innings.

While the offensive performance was outstanding with five home runs, two triples, two doubles and two singles, defensively Auburn struggled with four errors on the night. Brown finished with just six hits while starting pitcher Will Weidig allowed eight runs on seven hits in five innings.

The Tigers and Bears will play a doubleheader on Saturday beginning at 1 p.m. with 45 minutes in between games. Sophomore Jon Luke Jacobs will start game one for Auburn with Ty Kelley taking the mound for game two.

Tiger Ticket Extra:Auburn coach John Pawlowski said that sophomore first baseman Hunter Morris is still battling a sore back suffered lifting weights before the Florida State series. Morris was not in the lineup on Friday and Pawlowski said he's day to day for the weekend.

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