Michael O'Neal starts for Auburn. Brown vs Auburn Baseball Saturday, March 9, 2013 in Auburn, AL - Lauren Barnard
Lefty Michael O'Neal continued his strong start to the season with a complete game shutout of Brown, the Tigers' first in almost two years.
Auburn's (11-3) bats continued to put hits on the board with multi-hit days from Ryan Tella (2-3, 2 runs) and Garrett Cooper (2-4, 2 RBI), but Michael O'Neal was the story of the the Tigers' 6-0 win over Brown Saturday at Plainsman Park.
It took the junior 115 pitches to strikeout six and sprinkle six hits and two hits over nine innings. Brown rarely even threatened against O'Neal, but did force coach John Pawlowski to visit the mound in the ninth inning. Pawlowski said he told his pitcher he'd had a good day and was thinking of taking him out, but O'Neal and the cheering crowd convinced Pawlowski to let him try to finish it out.
O'Neal issued a first-inning walk and had a runner reach through a Damek Tomscha throwing error (his fifth) in the fourth, but he didn't allow a hit until the fifth.
Auburn's knack for big innings showed up in the third, when the Tigers led off with three hits (single, double, single), a stolen base and a walk, scoring three to take a 3-0 lead. Garrett Cooper added one in the fifth and he and Tomscha knocked in runs in the seventh.
Jordan Ebert stretched his hitting streak to twelve games with a clean single to lead off the third inning.
Auburn goes for the sweep Sunday at noon, hoping to cruise into the midweek game at Kennesaw State before opening SEC play at home against Vanderbilt next weekend.