Baseball Tigers Taken Down By Missouri

Auburn couldn't overcome a strong offensive performance from visiting Missouri as the Big 12 Tigers outlasted Auburn 11-7 Saturday at Plainsman Park.

Auburn, Ala.--On a day when Auburn celebrated four of the best players in program history, the 2010 Tigers struggled on the mound to contain a strong Missouri offense as the visitors won 11-7 in game four of the Auburn Classic at Plainsman Park and scored in all but three innings on the night. All-Big 12 selection Aaron Senne homered twice and had four RBI to lead Missouri as they improve to 4-1 while Auburn falls to 3-2 with the loss.

"It started early in the game, I didn't think we had a lot of rhythm to the game," Pawlowski said. "We didn't pitch it very well. Yesterday we pitched well and today we didn't. We stubbed our toe again today. We're going to have to find a way to regroup tomorrow. We're trying to work through this whole thing and trying to figure out who is going to go where with the pitching."

The story of the game was Auburn's struggles on the mound as starter Grant Dayton allowed five earned runs on seven hits in four and one/third innings. Reliever Stephen Kohlscheen came on and gave up four runs on two hits in just two/thirds of an inning. Sean Ray and Michael Hurst combined to allow a run on three hits in two innings as well. The lone bright spot on the mound came from freshman Slade Smith. In two innings the Fort Payne native allowed just two hits and no runs.

At the plate Auburn was solid with Justin Hargett and Hunter Morris each collecting three of the Tigers' 14 hits on the night. Crede Simpson, Brian Fletcher and Tony Caldwell had two hits each for Auburn with Fletcher adding four RBI. Pawlowski said offensively the Tigers did some things well, but missed some opportunities to add to the run total.

"There were some bright spots," Pawlowski said. "I thought Slade Smith came in and did a good job for us. Fletcher has been swinging the bat pretty well and Hunter had three hits again today. There are some positives out of it, but we've got to regroup and come back tomorrow."

Dayton ran into some early trouble as Missouri put a run on the board in the first on a Jonah Schmidt sacrifice fly, but Auburn came back to answer with two runs in the bottom of the inning. With one out Simpson walked and moved to second on a single by Morris. Fletcher then came through with a double down the left field line. That scored both runners and put Auburn in front 2-1.

Missouri tied it up in the second on a sacrifice fly, but again Auburn would answer as Justin Bryant was hit by a pitch to start the inning and later scored on a Hargett double. Seemingly like they did all day, the visiting Tigers responded with two runs off Dayton in the third thanks to Senne. A leadoff single from Blake Brown set the stage for Senne and he delivered with a two-out homer to right field. The blast gave Missouri the 4-3 advantage and things would only open up from there.

In the fifth it was again the long ball that would haunt Dayton as Schmidt and Senne hit back to back shots to make it a 6-3 Missouri advantage and end Dayton's day. Kohlscheen came on to finish off the inning, but the damage was done for Auburn.

Showing some perseverance, Auburn didn't roll over as the Tigers answered in the bottom of the inning. With one out Hargett singled up the middle and one out later Morris doubled to right field to put runners in scoring position for Fletcher. Continuing his torrid start, Fletcher singled up the middle to drive home two more and bring Auburn back to within one at 6-5 heading to the sixth.

That's when things would fall apart for Auburn as Missouri used four hits, a walk, and a hit batter to score four runs off Kohlscheen before Hurst came in to finish off the sixth with two strikeouts to strand two runners. Missouri added another run in the seventh to push the lead to six before Auburn added single runs in the seventh and ninth to make the final 11-7.

Auburn returns to action on Sunday at 3 p.m. when the Tigers face Florida Atlantic in the final game of the Auburn Classic. Earlier on Saturday the Owls defeated Boston College 13-2 to improve to 3-2 on the season.

Earlier in the day Auburn honored Bo Jackson, Gregg Olson, Frank Thomas and Tim Hudson by putting mural of them on the outfield wall at Plainsman Park as part of the Wall of Fame. Pawlowski said it's a huge statement for the Auburn baseball program to have those four players included at Plainsman Park.

"Anytime you have the opportunity to honor somebody for what they've done for this university and program is obviously a big day," Pawlowski said. "Those four guys, to have them come back and be part of this day, it's hard to describe what it meant to our program and to Auburn fans."

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