Keegan Thompson pitched four nearly-perfect innings before reliever Cole Lipscomb matched him for another four, as the Tigers opened the 2015 season with a home win over Binghamton, 2-0.
The visiting Bearcats came from a campus covered in a foot of snow and their bats were just as cold. Thompson punched out five, only surrendering one baserunner on what was nearly a spectacular diving play by transfer Kyler Deese. Lipscomb fanned another eight, and newly-christened closer Justin Camp nailed down the ninth with two more strikeouts. The defending America East champs only managed three hits off the Tigers trio of righties.
Jordan Ebert, last season's SEC leader in batting average, got his 2015 off to a good start, homering in his first at bat of the year in the first inning. Ebert hadn't homered since 2013, and became the first Auburn player to homer in his first at bat of a season since Mike Bianucci in 2008. Newcomer Bo Decker was the DH this afternoon, and scored the game's only other run. Decker came in from third with two outs in the fourth on catcher Blake Logan's single. The Seminole State transfer was the only Tiger with a multi-hit game, going for 2-4.
New pitching coach Tom Holliday's debut went as smoothly as he could've hoped for. Thompson was impressive on his 53 pitches, making hitters miss and stare at both his fastball and curveball. He rarely buried the breaker, often preferring to drop it in the zone for strikes. He also managed a lot of quick outs, helping perhaps to push him one inning longer than the original game plan called for. Lipscomb's outing, though slightly rockier, went swimmingly as well, requiring 67 pitches for his four frames. He walked two and also allowed a base-hit. The visitors converted a handful of very nice plays in the field, and though Auburn didn't necessarily flash any leather, they also didn't make any errors (!), and looked solid, particularly up the middle of the infield.
Auburn and Binghamton will square off again tomorrow at 3 pm at Plainsman Park. It will be aired by SECN+ with a radio call available on local radio and AuburnTigers.com