Auburn Has No Answers For ASU In Baseball Home Opener
AUBURN, Ala. - For Auburn's baseball team, it wasn't supposed to be this way. Not on this day. Not against Alabama State.
But it was.
After an offseason of soaring optimism, the Tigers of first-year head coach Sunny Golloway had no answer for Alabama State. The Hornets came from Montgomery and romped to a 9-3 victory before a crowd of 3,609 in Auburn's home opener.
When the loss was in the books, Golloway acknowledge it was hard to swallow.
"It will be a memorable experience, my home debut," Golloway said. "It will be one I don't forget the rest of my life."
Golloway, since he left Oklahoma, has had Omaha and the College World Series front and center among the goals for his first Auburn team. A 3-2 start, including a historic loss to Alabama State and a 1-0 loss last Saturday to Ohio State, did nothing to change that.
"We're going to play in Omaha," Golloway. "This year. I'm disappointed for our fans. I'm disappointed for our program. We are going to play in Omaha."
Auburn struggled to hit against six Alabama State pitchers, made two errors and had a passed ball. Alabama State got nine hits, including a triple and a double, off pitchers who are expected to be stalwarts against Southeastern Conference teams.
Before Tuesday, Auburn had won all seven previous meetings with Alabama State. But third-year coach Mervyl Melendez, who built a consistent winner at Bethune-Cookman, has changed things at Alabama State. The Hornets lost 2-1 here last season. This time, they broke thorough.
The game was scoreless through five innings, but in the sixth the Hornets finally got to Auburn starter Justin Camp and scored three runs. Auburn got a run in bottom of the inning when Anfernee Grier doubled for Auburn's first extra-base hit of the season, moved to third on Dan Glevenyak's sacrifice and scored on Ryan Tella's sacrifice fly. Blake Austin's two-run double in the seventh cut the ASU lead to 4-3, but two runners were left stranded.
In the top of the eighth, it all came apart for Auburn. The Hornets scored five times on four hits and two Auburn errors. They got to Trey Cochran-Gill and Terrance Dedrick.
Auburn went quietly in the bottom of the eighth and bottom of the ninth. Alabama State had finally done it. It had beaten Auburn.
Camp gave up five runs on three hits, but it was against setup man Tre Cochran-Gill and closer Terrance Dedrick that the game got away. Cochran-Gill gave up three runs on three hits in 1 1/3 innings. Dedrick gave up two runs, both unearned, on one hit in 2/3 of an inning.
And that, Golloway said, will bring some changes on the back end of the pitching staff and perhaps even in the starting rotation.
"We can't elevate the ball and be able to close or bridge the gap," Golloway said. "Those guys have to pitch down in the zone. They have to be able to punch people out. We have to move on. I'm going to tell them we are going to re-evaluate. We're not going to run and hide.
"I don't think we are ready to have Terrance Dedrick close. I don't think Trey Cochran-Gill is our bridge the gap guy right now. Not when you look at a five-run eighth inning. I saw the same thing down in Florida (at the Snowbird Classic)."
But Golloway said one or both could compete for spots in the starting rotation.
Offensively, the Tigers' team batting average fell to .217. Golloway said there has to be a meeting of the minds on the mound, in the field and at the plate.
"They bought in completely in the fall," Golloway said. "I haven't seen much of what we did in the fall. The only stat that matters - I've tried to explain this to our pitching coach and pitchers - it's not about ERA, it's not about how many you strikeout. It's about wins and losses. I've tried to talk to our hitting coach about it's not batting average. It's not sac bunts or drags. It's about winning ballgames. Right now, I'm not sure we're all on the same page - not our coaches, but our players - as to what it is going to take to win."
Auburn returns to Plainsman Park over the weekend for the Tiger Classic, taking on Arkansas-Pine Bluff on Friday, California on Saturday and East Tennessee State on Sunday.
Dores Ease By Bisons In Home Opener
NASHVILLE, Tenn. - No. 9 Vanderbilt eased by Lipscomb 5-1 on Wednesday afternoon at Hawkins Field in the home opener.
The Commodores' (4-0) pitching staff continued its early season dominance with another strong outing in the season's first home game. Starter Walker Buehler kept the Dores' starting pitcher's streak alive not allowing an earned run. Vanderbilt's four starting pitchers (Tyler Beede, Jared Miller, Tyler Ferguson) have not allowed an earned run in 21.1 innings this year.
Buehler struck out two in the first inning but ran into trouble in the second. Former Commodore Josh Lee reached base on an error and the Bisons (0-4) eventually loaded the bases before scoring on a ground out to tie the game. Buehler pitched out of another jam in the fourth after a leadoff triple. The right-hander punched out two and used a spectacular play from shortstop Vince Conde to end the inning. Buehler picked up the win allowing one unearned run on four hits with six strikeouts.
Freshman Hayden Stone made his collegiate debut in the sixth then struck out the side in the seventh to record four strikeouts in his first two innings as a Commodore. Adam Ravenelle struck out two in the eighth to run the Dores' total to a season-best 12 strikeouts.
While the Dores' hurlers were dominating, the Vandy offense was hard at work against Lipscomb knuckleballer Ian Martinez-McGraw. Vanderbilt scratched out a pair of runs in the third inning to take the lead for good. Freshman Ro Coleman led off the inning with a single and came around to score on Zander Wiel's second RBI-single of the night. Freshman Bryan Reynolds followed with a sacrifice fly to left for a 3-1 VU lead. Wiel tacked on his third RBI of the night in the fifth with a ground out to second that scored Dansby Swanson, who led off the inning with an infield single. Kyle Smith capped the night's scoring in the eighth with a pinch hit RBI-single up the middle in his first at-bat of the year.
Wiel led the way for the Commodores going 2-for-4 with three RBI. Martinez-McGraw tossed a complete game in the Lipscomb loss allowing five runs, three earned, on seven hits and four walks.
Vanderbilt returns to action Friday afternoon at Hawkins Field against Illinois-Chicago. First pitch is set for 4 p.m.
Rebels Shut Out Skyhawks For 6-0 Win
OXFORD, Miss. – Jacob Waguespack a group of six pitchers Wednesday night while the Rebels’ scored efficiently on seven hits and Ole Miss (4-0) picked up a 6-0 victory over Tennessee-Martin (0-4) in the home opener at Swayze Field.
Waguespack (1-0) gave up two hits with three walks and two strikeouts in 4.0 innings of work, but got the win in a predetermined start for the Rebels as a bevy of pitchers saw action against the Skyhawks. Five other hurlers made their season debuts in the game, including Preston Tarkington, Evan Anderson, Austin Blunt, Scott Weathersby and Jeremy Massie.
Alex Boshers (0-1) took the loss for UT-Martin as he allowed only one run on two hits through 4.0 innings of work, but the Skyhawks were held off the board by the Rebel pitching staff and defense.
“It’s nice to win, but at this point we didn’t play very well,” said Ole Miss head coach Mike Bianco. “We certainly didn’t play anywhere close to the way we did this past weekend. We looked a little nervous. One of the things we worried about at the beginning of the season, and we challenged the guys about, was to not play like we did tonight.
“This past weekend we swung freely and looked aggressive on the mound,” Bianco said. “Today, we looked a little more tentative at the plate. Some guys still looked great. Will Allen is just on fire and continues to swing. Preston Overbey had several good at-bats. On the mound, we weren’t super sharp either.”
The Rebels got on the board in the third inning when Dalton Dulin took advantage of a wild pitch with the bases loaded to sprint home. Dulin started the rally with a two-out single before a walk and a hit batter loaded the bases.
Ole Miss added to the lead in the seventh inning, again taking advantage of a Skyhawk miscue to push the lead out to 2-0. Braxton Lee opened the inning with a single and a steal before a bunt down the third base line from Auston Bousfield put runners at the corners. A walk loaded the bases before a balk would bring Lee home to take the Rebel advantage out to two runs.
The Rebels broke things open in the eighth inning, pushing four runs across the plate and successfully stealing five bases as a part of the late rally by the fastest part of the Ole Miss lineup. Dulin, Lee, Bousfield and Will Allen all drove in runs during the inning that saw eight men come to the plate.
Ole Miss led 6-0 after the big eighth inning and then shut things down once more in the ninth to pick up the win.
The Rebels will return to action on Friday, kicking off a three-game series against Georgia State at 4 p.m at Swayze Field.
Three-Run Eighth Lifts No. 20 Florida Past UNF, 8-7
GAINESVILLE, Fla. – No. 20 Florida (4-1) plated three runs with two out in the eighth inning to turn a 7-5 deficit into an 8-7 victory over North Florida (2-2) on Wednesday night at McKethan Stadium. The Gators trailed 4-0 in the second inning, grabbed a 5-4 advantage in the seventh and trailed by two runs entering the home part of the eighth before rallying for their third victory in a row.
After the Ospreys had scored three runs on three hits and an error in the top of the frame, junior Braden Mattson (San Antonio, Texas) (2-for-4) had a one-out single off of junior Jamie Cardwell. Freshman John Sternagel (Rockledge, Fla.) drew a pinch-hit walk for a pair of runners aboard and senior Ryan McMahon (0-1) had junior Justin Shafer (Lake Wales, Fla.) pop up for the second out. An infield single by freshman Buddy Reed (Finksburg, Md.) (1-for-2, two runs) loaded the bases and a fielding error on a potential game-ending grounder by sophomore Richie Martin (Brandon, Fla.) enabled Mattson and Sternagel to come home for a 7-7 stalemate. Junior Casey Turgeon (Palm Harbor, Fla.) (3-for-5, two RBI) ripped McMahon’s next offering up the middle to provide the winning margin.
Freshman Shaun Anderson (Coral Springs, Fla.) replaced junior Ryan Harris (Jupiter, Fla.) (1-0) prior to the ninth for his first collegiate appearance and issued a leadoff single to freshman Alex Merritt. The righty had junior Alex Bacon pop up a bunt attempt and a base-hit by freshman Patrick Ervin (2-for-4) gave UNF two runners on with one down. Anderson then induced a game-ending 6-3 double play, the Gators’ fourth of the game, to nail down the save.
The Ospreys erupted for four runs in the second with two down, highlighted by a bases-clearing double by junior Trent Higginbothem (2-for-3). Junior James Abbatinozzi (2-for-3) singled with two down and stole second before sophomore Kyle Brooks (3-for-5, two runs) had an infield single and junior Drew Weeks walked to fill the bags. UNF had grabbed a 1-0 lead on a wild pitch by freshman Dane Dunning (Fleming Island, Fla.) and sophomore Donnie Dewees was intentionally walked to re-load the bases. Higginbothem greeted sophomore reliever Aaron Rhodes (Venice, Fla.) with a two-bagger into left center.
Florida countered with four runs on three hits in the third inning to tie the game. Reed drew a leadoff walk and went to second on a passed ball before Martin was hit by a pitch. Turgeon put the Gators on the board with an RBI single into right field and a base-hit by junior Taylor Gushue (Boca Raton, Fla.) loaded the bases and prompted a pitching change. Junior Jordan Nolan replaced junior Nick Miller (2.0 IP, 4 H, 4 R) and yielded a sacrifice fly by freshman Peter Alonso (Tampa, Fla.) (2-for-3) for a 4-2 margin. Turgeon narrowed UF’s deficit to a run by scoring on a wild pitch and a grounder by junior Zack Powers (Seffner, Fla.) pushed Gushue to third. Mattson followed with a game-tying single that caromed off of the first-base bag.
The Gators used a sacrifice fly by Gushue to grab a 5-4 lead in the seventh inning. Martin led off with a double into left center and Cardwell took over for Nolan (4.0 IP, 4 H, 1 R). A grounder by Turgeon advanced Martin to third base and Gushue collected his team-leading seventh RBI to put the hosts on top before UNF tallied three runs in the eighth.
Big Inning Carries LSU Past SLU, 7-3
HAMMOND, La. -- Playing its first road contest in front of a record crowd Wednesday night at Alumni Field, the LSU baseball team (4-0) broke a 2-2 tie with a four-run sixth inning to defeat Southeastern Louisiana (2-2), 7-3.
Starting pitcher Cody Glenn (1-0), the first of five LSU pitchers, earned the victory after allowing two earned runs on seven hits in five innings. LSU's four reliefers - Nate Fury, Parker Bugg, Joe Broussard and Kurt McCune - combined to allow only a walk and a ninth-inning single the rest of the way.
Offensively, cleanup hitter Conner Hale went 3-for-5 with an RBI, while Jared Foster was 2-for-4 with two RBI for LSU. Tyler Moore scored twice and also drive in a run.
SLU scored the game's first run with three hits in the bottom of the first inning, yet LSU answered with two runs in the top of the second. Chris Chinea and Moore each doubled with one out to tie the game, and Foster added an RBI single to push the Tigers ahead, 2-1.
The Lions tied the game with an unearned run in the bottom of the fifth, but again the Tigers answered immediately.
In the four-run sixth, Mark Laird walked, Alex Bregman was hit by a pitch and Hale singled to center to load the bases. A wild pitch scored Laird, and Bregman came around to score from second when SLU catcher Jameson Fisher rolled the live ball into his dugout. Christian Ibarra reached base on a fielder's choice and advanced to second when Moore was hit by a pitch.
Ibarra scored on an RBI single by Foster and Moore scored on a balk to give LSU a 6-2 lead.
SLU added an unearned run in the bottom of the sixth, and Hale pushed the LSU advantage to its final margin with an RBI in the top of the ninth.
An Alumni Field record crowd of 3,747 witnessed the game.
The Tigers return to action on Friday at 7 p.m. CT when Virginia Tech is the first of a three-game series against three opponents this weekend at Alex Box Stadium, Skip Bertman Field.
Bulldogs Drop Mid-Week Contest To Memphis
STARKVILLE, Miss. – Fielding issues plagued the Mississippi State baseball team during its 6-4 loss to Memphis Wednesday night at Dudy Noble Field.
The Bulldogs committed a season-high three errors and allowed the Tigers to plate three unearned scores. Memphis (4-0) actually leaped to the victory by scoring three times in the top half of the ninth inning.
In the home half of the inning, MSU (2-2) reached Brett Pirtle by single and C.T. Bradford by walk. A fly out, strikeout and caught stealing snuffed the final threat for the Maroon and White.
“Our kids just ran away from who we are,” MSU head coach John Cohen said. “Our identity is pitching and defense. I thought we pitched it pretty well. We did not defend the field well.”
Memphis built a 1-0 lead with a single score in the fifth inning. Kane Barrow doubled and later scored on an infield error.
MSU answered right back with four scores in the home half of the sixth inning. With four different pinch hitters appearing in the frame, the Bulldogs received a two-run single from Cory Brown, an RBI-single from Alex Detz and an RBI-double from Wes Rea.
Ben Bracewell worked six innings in his first start of the year. The senior right-hander allowed three hits and one run (unearned), with a career-high seven strikeouts. It was the Bulldogs’ second quality start of the season.
Memphis answered with two runs in the seventh inning. Carter White and Barrow began the frame. An error for advancement loomed large; as it scored a run and a ground ball out scored the other.
Ross Mitchell faced five batters and was lifted with two outs in the seventh inning. Jacob Lindgren followed before giving way to Jonathan Holder in the ninth inning.
Holder (0-1) was touched for two hits and three runs (two earned), with a strikeout.
A wild pitched third strike opened the door with one out in the Memphis ninth inning. After a steal of second base, an RBI-single by Bryce Beeler tied the game. A hit by Jake Little and infield error kept the frame alive and led to two more scores.
Jacob Moody (1-0) worked the eighth inning to garner the win, while Beeler came in from a designated position to face two batters for his third save of the season.
Memphis received seven hits, including a three-hit night by Barrow.
Detz had two hits and was the lone multiple hitter for MSU.
MSU remains home for a four-game weekend series with Holy Cross. The Bulldogs and Crusaders meet at 4 p.m. Friday, 11 a.m. Saturday (doubleheader) and 1:30 p.m. Sunday.