Tigers Keep Winning With 6-2 Victory over USA

Auburn imprved to 20-10 on the season with a baseball victory over the University of South Alabama.

Auburn, Ala.--A night after pummeling Georgia State into submission with a slow pitch softball type of score, the Auburn Tigers picked up their 20th baseball victory of the season with a more traditional type of win.

Auburn outscored visiting South Alabama 6-2 as five Tiger pitchers scattered 10 hits on Wednesday night.

Outfielder Justin Fradejas drove home two runs for the Tigers and scored one as the Tigers managed 13 hits vs. the Jaguars, who fell to 22-11 with the loss.

Fradejas says the victory, Auburn's third straight, gives the Tigers momentum going into this weekend's home series vs. defending national champion LSU.

The midweek victories were a major turnaround from what happened last week when the Tigers played very poorly in a midweek loss at Troy.

"I didn't think we played as well as we are capable of playing against Troy," Fradejas says. "Troy is a good team, but we could have played better. This week we came out and we were more prepared. We did the little things well and those are the things that help you win baseball games."

Fradejas says the Tigers are excited about the opportunity to take on LSU. He notes that he hopes there are big crowds for the games on Friday, Saturday and Sunday. "It would help us get a lot of energy up, I am sure," he says. "It would mean a lot to us."

Auburn head coach John Pawlowski, who was back on the field after serving a one-game suspension on Tuesday night, started Cory Luckie, who had been rocked in his last two starts vs. SEC competition. Luckie pitched two innings and allowed two hits and no runs.

Slade Smith then pitched two innings and gave up four hits and one run. Stephen Kohlscheen followed with two innings and allowed two hits and two runs.

Zach Blatt pitched a scoreless no-hit inning and Michael Hurst got the save with two scoreless innings. He allowed two hits and struck out three batters.

"All five went out there and they all threw strikes and gave us a chance to play solid defense and we pitched," Pawlowski says. "I thought overall it was a pretty solid performance."

Pawlowski adds that he is still evaluating if Luckie will start this weekend vs. LSU, but says he likes what he saw. "Hopefully, he can gain some confidence and build on that."

Auburn got the scoring started with three runs in the second inning. Tony Caldwell led off the inning with a single and moved to second base on a sacrifice bunt by Dan Gamache.

Justin Bryant, who was filling in at shortstop for Casey McElroy who was out of action for a second straight game with an illness, was hit on the hand by a pitch that forced him to leave the game.

Trent Mummey, in his first start of the season, walked to load the bases. Creede Simpson then got an RBI the easy way as he walked. A sacrifice fly by Fradejas made the score 2-0 and a single by Justin Hargett put the Tigers up 3-0. The Jaguars escaped without further damage when Brian Fletcher struck out.

The Tigers didn't score again until the fifth inning. By that time the visitors had cut the margin to 3-2 with single runs in the third and fifth innings.

Three straight singles to open the inning produced Auburn's only run in the fifth inning to stretch the lead to 4-2. Fletcher opened the inning and advanced on hits by Hunter Morris and Caldwell.

The Tigers added a single run in the bottom of the sixth. A one-out triple by Simpson put him in position to score on a single from Hargett.

In the Auburn eighth, Fradejas led off with a ground ball single into right field and moved to second on a sacrifice bunt. Fradejas then moved to third base on a strikeout pitch that the catcher couldn't handle putting Fletcher on first base.

Morris then picked up an RBI by lofting a high fly ball to left field on a 3-0 count to bring home Fradejas to add an insurance run. Fletcher moved to second on the throw to the plate, but he was stranded there to end the inning.

Pawlowski says he doesn't know how severe the injury is to Justin Bryant, but is hopeful it isn't a major injury. Another Tiger, Patrick Savage, found out on Wednesday he has mononucleosis. The coach says he is hoping that McElroy will be ready for action on Friday.

The Tigers return to action with a 7 p.m. start on Friday vs. LSU.

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