Pitching Keys Tigers To 4-2 Victory

Auburn pitching allowed just five hits in a 4-2 win Tuesday night over Georgia State.

Auburn, Ala.--Tony Caldwell hit two solo home runs and Hunter Morris added a solo shot of his own as the Auburn Tigers (21-10) defeated Georgia State 4-2 on a cold Tuesday night at Plainsman Park. Getting just six hits, the Tigers instead relied on a steady pitching performance to earn the win.

On the mound starter Dexter Price allowed one run on three hits in five and one/third innings while reliever Michael Hurst got the win, allowed only an unearned run in one and two/thirds. Closer Austin Hubbard got the save, pitching two scoreless innings, allowing two hits and striking out three.

"I think it's great for our pitching staff," Auburn coach John Pawlowski said of the 4-2 win in which his pitchers only allowed five hits. "Certainly offensively we didn't have a whole lot going on tonight except for Tony Caldwell. He had a great night. Ben Jones and Hunter gave us the lift we needed.

"It was good for our pitching staff," he added. "The guys Michael Hurst and Dexter and Hubb threw the ball very well. We certainly needed it. This game was not the prettiest game offensively, but we found a way to win and that's the bottom line right now."

The start of the game offensively was without question Caldwell. His two home runs gave him four in two games and was his sixth in his last 13 games for the Tigers. He said Tuesday night was just a case of the Tigers finding enough offense to get the job done.

"We started off real slow tonight on a very cold night," Caldwell said. "Offensively we didn't put back to back hits together. We just had a few good at-bats. It was just what we needed to get the job done and get a win."

"The pitchers did a great job tonight," he added. "They came in and did their responsibilities. Dexter Price gave us six innings. Michael Hurst did his role and then Hubbard finished it off."

Auburn got on the board first in the bottom of the third as Morris connected for his seventh home run of the season. It was Auburn's 34th solo homer of the season and gave Price the early advantage.

Georgia State answered back in the top of the sixth and brought Price's day to a close. Leading off, Nick Hogan singled and then advanced to second on a groundout to Casey McElroy at shortstop. That set up Chase Childers with the RBI opportunity and he came through with a single to tie the game at one.

The Tigers wasted little time getting the run back in the bottom of the sixth as Caldwell continued his torrid pace at the plate with a solo shot to right-center. Jones then looked like he would add the third solo shot of the game with a blast to center field.

The ball bounced off the wall as the center fielder slammed into the fence. Never slowing down, Jones rounded third as the ball was bobbled in the outfield. He scored easily and was awarded a triple, scoring the third run on an error.

Georgia State got a run back in the top of the eighth as Hurst walked the leadoff man on four pitches for his last batter of the night. Following a strikeout, Childers hit a rocket off the glove of Morris at first. Rushing a flip to first, Justin Hargett's toss sailed over Morris' head allowing the lead runner to advance to third.

Hubbard then uncorked a wild pitch to score the runner and make it 3-2 Auburn. The junior settled down to get the final two outs and give the Tigers a chance to get the run back in the bottom of the inning.

Caldwell accomplished that feat with one swing of the bat. With one out he took one deep over the wall in left field for his second of the night. That gave the Tigers a two-run advantage heading to the ninth. Things got a little hairy though as Marc Mimeault singled to open the frame and pinch hitter Theo Asher drilled a long fly ball to left, but Jones ran it down for the out. Hubbard retired the final two batters to secure his sixth save of the season.

Auburn returns to action Wednesday night at 6 p.m. against Bethune-Cookman at Plainsman Park. The game is fan appreciation night with free admission to the game for all fans. Senior Paul Burnside will get the start for the Tigers on the mound.


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