Auburn baseball is back above .500 (at 3-2) following a midweek split. The Tigers lost, 7-4, at South Alabama on Tuesday night, then defeated Alabama State at Plainsman Park this afternoon, 7-5.
Keegan Thompson started the game, but only reached the sixth inning. Jaguar starter Jared Gates, on the other hand, didn't get out of the second. Auburn sent eight batters to face him in the first, culminating in a 3-0 lead, that became 4-1 before Gates left in the second without recording a fourth out.
His replacement, however, shut down the Tiger offense. Austin Bembnowski held Auburn to three hits in his eight shutout innings and struck out six.
A rare bright spot in the Auburn lineup was Anfernee Grier's 3-for-4 performance.
This afternoon's game was a much happier affair, though it didn't start out that way.
Alabama State, who beat Cal St.-Fullerton last weekend, strung together five consecutive two-out singles in the first inning, to jump up 3-0. That rally was begun by the Hornets version of Jose Altuve, 5'4" infielder Einar Muniz. He ended the day 3-for-4, along with a walk.
Auburn's bats would eventually explode in a big way, with three homers powering the seven-run middle frames. Daniel Robert and freshman Hunter Tackett went back-to-back in the fourth, then in the sixth - following a two-run double by Damon Haecker - three-hole hitter Jordan Ebert continued his hot start to 2015 (.375/.524/.750) with his second bomb of the year, and his discerning eye picked up another free base for him as well, for his fifth in five games.
Auburn put first-time starter Cole Lipscomb on the bump, and, after his rough first, he settled in to a groove, making it through six frames, surrendering only one more run. His six K's mean he now has 14 in 10 innings this season. Dalton Rents and Robby Clements bridged the seventh and eighth to get to Justin Camp for the ninth. He allowed three hits, but got out unscathed with two strikeouts, including one called for the last out of the game.
Auburn hosts Radford this weekend at home for a three-game set.