Auburn defeated Arkansas State in their season opener at Hitchcock Field Friday night 12-5 in front of a sell out crowd. The Tigers led the entire game but State closed the gap to 6-5 in the seventh inning.
Auburn came back scoring four runs in the seventh and two in the eight to put the game out of reach. Creed Simpson, Dan Gamache and Justin Bryant all had doubles with Justin Hargett and Zach Alvord producing back to back doubles to basically shut the door on the Red Wolves..
Creed Simpson finished 3-for-3 with a pair of walks, and four runs scored. Casey McElroy went 3-for-4 with a walk and two runs scored.
The difference in the new regulation bats were evident tonight as the Tigers saw balls (that may have gone out of the park in 2010) hit off the wall or caught at the warning track
While last year's homerun power was absent, the Tigers produced a diverse offense which included stealing bases, hitting, slashing, and bunting to get the job done. Auburn finished with seven walks, two hit batters, 10 singles, three doubles, and a total of 13 hits.
Slade Smith was the winning pitcher and Freshman Ethan Wallen went 3 1/3 innings to pick up the save. Cory Luckie is scheduled to start for number 23 Auburn in Saturday's game against number 13 Virginia.
The Tigers played in front of the largest opening day crowd (4,096) in the history of Plainsman Park.
Coach John Pawlowski said, "I was so excited when we came out for our pregame. The stadium was packed and there were people in the parking deck. It just makes our guys want to play so hard and we are very thankful that all the fans came out."
The hero of last year's NCAA Regionals Creed Simpson said, "The crowd tonight was unreal. I want to thank every fan that came out. We love playing for them."
Well Creed, the feeling is mutual. We love watching the Tigers play.