Unlike last weekend when Auburn couldn't find the touch offensively, Tuesday the bats were alive and well for much of the game. Shortstop Chuck Jeroloman led the way at the plate as he tied a career high with three hits in five at-bats and also a career-high in runs batted in with three. Third baseman Scott Schade and right fielder Clete Thomas also had three hits and three RBI while center fielder Javon Moran had just one hit but drove home three runs. Schade said following the game that he feels good about where he is offensively after hitting the ball the other way several times on Tuesday.
"I stopped trying to hit the ball out of the park today," Schade said. "I actually hit a ball where it was pitched. I'm working, Coach (Steve Renfroe) is working with me a lot. Hopefully it clicked. I ‘m ready for some warm weather though."
Scott Schade drills a single to right field in the fifth inning.
The pitching, hitting and defense all came together for the Tigers on Tuesday, something that Renfroe was glad to see. Sophomore Arnold Hughey earned the win after pitching four innings, allowing just one run on two hits. Andrew Skinner, Daniel Forrer, Chris Dennis and Levale Speigner kept the Bulldogs off the scoreboard the rest of the way to close out a dominant performance by Auburn.
"I thought the approaches were good," Renfroe said of the offense. "That pleases me more than anything. We pitched really well. We didn't walk many guys, one guy I think. When you use that many pitchers usually you have more walks. We're going to need those freshmen to step up on our staff if we're going to be able to put this thing together."
The beating started early as Tug Hulett led off the second inning with a double and Schade followed with a infield single to the right side to put runners on first and third with no outs. Jeroloman started his big day with a single to left that scored Hulett with the game's first run. After a sacrifice fly by Thomas moved both runners up a base, back-to-back hits by Sean Gamble and Moran finished the scoring with Auburn ahead 3-0 going to the third inning.
With Hughey coasting on the mound, Auburn would strike again in the fourth inning. Jeroloman led off the inning with a solo home run over the green monster in left field and Thomas followed with a sharp single to center field on a 3-2 count. Executing a perfect hit-and-run, Gamble punched a grounder through the left side that pushed Thomas all the way to third base. Moran would follow with a ground out to the right side to score the freshman from third and the Tigers led 5-1.
The bottom of the Auburn order again got things going in the fifth inning as Hulett doubled to left center and Schade flipped a single to right field to put runners on the corners with no outs. Jeroloman got his third hit of the day as he dropped a bunt down the first base line for a single that scored Hulett from third. Thomas continued his hot day with a drive through the left side to score Schade from second. After a Gamble fielder's choice, Moran pushed across the last run of the inning with a sacrifice fly to center field. Leading 8-1, the Tigers turned the ball over to Forrer and Dennis as each worked two innings of relief along with Speigner on the way to the victory.
Auburn gets back to action this weekend when they play the Virginia Cavaliers for a three-game series at Plainsman Park. Friday's game is scheduled to begin a 3 p.m. with Saturday set for 2 p.m. and Sunday at 1:30 p.m.