Auburn baseball improved to 9-3 last week winning every game until Sunday's finale against Jacksonville State. The Tigers are in Montgomery tonight to take on Alabama in the Capital City Classic. Here's a belated look back at the last week in Auburn hardball.
Last Tuesday brought Georgia Tech (5-3) to campus, and Keegan Thompson dominated most of the game. He controlled his way through seven one-run innings, striking out nine Yellow Jackets, allowing no walks and six hits. After the game he and his coaches commented on his fastball command being the best it's been all season. He threw 95 pitches, 74 for strikes.
Anfernee Grier continued his hot start to the season, going 2-for-3 with two walks, Blake Logan was 3-for-4 with a double and Justin Camp threw two scoreless, hitless innings, with four strikeouts and two walks.
The southern plains and Gulf Coast dealt with some fun weather last week, forcing another round of cancellations, rescheduling, and new, off-the-cuff tournaments being planned. Auburn's second mid-week game was cancelled, and Oklahoma State and Western Illinois rerouted their plans to visit the Plains, where an impromptu tournament was held.
Auburn's Friday night game was the first of two against regularly scheduled opponent Jacksonville State. The Tigers led 3-2 through seven, before Cody Nulph homered and Blake Logan and Anfernee Grier each doubled, stretching the lead to 6-2.
Trey Wingenter started the Friday game, but was pulled in the fourth with one out, trailing 2-0. Jacob Milliman, Will Thompson and Dalton Rentz pitched well in relief until Rentz ran into trouble in the ninth, loading the bases and allowing the Gamecocks to claw to within two runs. Justin Camp came in and got a fly ball to Jordan Ebert who made a spectacular catch to end the game.
Grier's hitting streak was continued by his 2-for-4 day. Nulph, Logan and Damon Haecker also had two-hit games.
The biggest win of the week was undoubtedly Saturday's romp over Oklahoma State, a team ranked as high as seventh by the major college baseball polls heading into last week. The game was tied at 2-2 before the Tigers scored the final seven runs of the day, extending their win streak to seven, the longest since 2009. Auburn scored in every inning from the fourth on, and tallied 17 hits off Cowboys pitchers.
Hunter Tackett had two hits, one a homer in the fourth that gave Auburn a 2-1 lead. Grier again had a big day, going 3-for-5. JJ Shaffer was 3-for-3 after subbing in for Sam Gilliken in left field. Haecker, Ebert and Nulph all also had multi-hit days at the office.
Rocky McCord got the start and went into the fifth and left for Cole Lipscomb with the game tied at 2-2 and one out recorded. Lipscomb pitched a gem after that, checking in one out shy of five innings, with eight K's, one walk and one hit allowed.
The winning streak ended with a disappointing 10-9 loss to JSU on Sunday. The Tigers led 9-7 through seven innings, but three runs in the top of the eight pushed the Gamecocks ahead, and they hung on for the win. Auburn used seven pitchers, with starter Kevin Davis going one frame. Izaac Yarbrough, Robby Clements, Milliman and Rentz got the game through the seventh with the Tigers in front, but the final two relievers couldn't hold on to the lead. Sam Mason was tagged for three unearned runs after getting one out and allowing two hits.
Offensively, the top of the lineup was again potent, with Grier stretching his hitting streak to 14 games by going 2-for-6, while Haecker was 3-for-3 with three walks.
When the week ended, Grier was named co-SEC player of the week for his 9-for-18 four-game stretch. He had three doubles, three walks, went two-for-two stealing bases and scored six runs. For the season he is now hitting .489 (23-for-47) with 15 runs scored, eight doubles and one triple, and has walked nine times.
Keegan Thompson will pitch for Auburn tonight at Montgomery's Riverwalk Stadium against the formerly ranked Crimson Tide.