Tigers Pound RedHawks In Saturday Win

Hunter Morris had four hits and Grant Dayton picked up his first win of the season as Auburn bombed Miami (OH) 13-5.

Auburn, Ala.--Hunter Morris had four hits, including his first home run, and was one of six Auburn players with an RBI as the Tigers bombed Miami (OH) 13-5 to take the series against the RedHawks. Starter Grant Dayton allowed three earned runs on seven hits in five and two/thirds innings while reliever Stephen Kohlscheen allowed just one run in three and a third to finish it off as the Tigers improved to 8-2 on the season.

"The tone was set real early by Grant Dayton," Coach John Pawlowski said. "Grant went out there and retired the first 10 hitters of the game and when you can do that and play solid defense, it's a real good formula to getting off to a good start."

In addition to the big day from Morris, Auburn got another strong performance from Brian Fletcher as he finished 2-3 with his sixth home run of the season. Back in the lineup, designated hitter Kevin Patterson responded with two hits including his second home run of the year. Auburn finished with 16 hits and now have 38 in two games on the weekend.

It was Morris that delivered big on offense for the Tigers after struggling some in the last few games with pop ups. Still hitting over .350, Morris had yet to explode. He did on Saturday though.

"I went in to today with the simplest approach I could, going back to when you are little kid, just seeing the ball and hitting the ball," Morris said. "I tried to keep my stance and stride as simple as possible and really attack the ball."

A view of Plainsman Park on a sun-drenched Saturday.

Auburn wasted little time picking up where it left off Friday night as Crede Simpson homered for the first time on the season to open the flood gates in the first inning with one out. Morris then singled through the right side to bring Fletcher to the plate. Trying to back the red-hot junior off the plate, the pitch instead hit Fletcher to give the Tigers a pair of runners on base. Casey McElroy then put the Tigers on the board again as his single through the right side scored Morris to make it 2-0 Auburn after one inning.

In the second the Tigers scratched out another one as a one-out single by Patterson was followed up by a Ryan Jenkins single to left field. Hustling on the play, Patterson advanced to third and the throw in from the outfield allowed Jenkins to move to second. A Justin Hargett fly ball to left scored Patterson and made it a 3-0 advantage for the Tigers.

With Dayton cruising on the mound Auburn came back for more in the third inning. Leading things off, Morris crushed a double off the monster in left field and moved to third on a sharp single by Fletcher to center field. McElroy then singled for the second time in the game as Morris scored to make it 4-0 Auburn. After Tony Caldwell was hit by a pitch, Justin Bryant smoked a double into the left field corner. Both Fletcher and McElroy scored on the play with Caldwell stopping at third. Jenkins finished off the scoring with a sacrifice fly to make it 7-0 Tigers heading to the fourth inning.

The RedHawks finally got to Dayton in the top of the fourth as he surrendered his first hit with two outs following a leadoff walk to start the inning. It proved to be a costly walk as Jordan Jankowski singled in a run to break open the shutout. Another single run in the fifth cut Auburn's lead down to five, but one swing of the bat would get the run back as Patterson's second homer of the year over the right field wall made it 8-2 Tigers going to the sixth.

Another leadoff walk in the sixth proved to be hurtful to Dayton as he walked Andy Weldon to start the inning. Advancing on a wild pitch and a ground ball, he would score on a single to cut the lead back to five. A solid outing would come to an end with the next hitter as a double to left and an error by Fletcher allowed the second run to score and make it 8-4 Auburn. Kohlscheen came on to get the final out of the inning, but not before Miami was back in the game.

It was only a fleeting moment for the visitors though as the Tigers broke things open in the bottom of the sixth. A leadoff single by Hargett and a sacrifice bunt moved him into scoring position, but he was able to walk home as Morris launched a homer to center field. It was his first of the year and put Auburn up 10-4. It was just the start of the big inning as Fletcher blasted his seventh HR deep to center field for a seven-run lead. Jenkins added a two-run single later in the frame for a 13-4 lead.

Despite a solo homer in the seventh off Kohlscheen, Auburn put the game away with ease as the Tigers won going away 13-5. Sunday Auburn will send junior college transfer Cole Nelson to the mound looking for the sweep.

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