- WED: 4-3 W
6,000+ people packed Toyota Field in Madison to take in what promised to be a solid match up on the diamond. No one left disappointed in the effort they saw or the quality of a game. Both teams battled to a scoreless tie through 4 innings before Tennessee Tech’s offense finally broke through for 3 runs in the 5th. Auburn was able to answer back for a run in the 5th and then another in the 7th. Then in the 8th, TTU pitching would start to unravel as Auburn would parlay three consecutive walks and a Hit By Pitch into an opportunity for a Sac Fly and Auburn led 4-3 as we went to the last frame.
In that 9th inning, Blake Burkhalter would strike out the side to earn his second win of the season while the Tigers improved to 12-2 on the year. While you can come down on the offense not being able to preform without some help from Tech, sure that’s true, but I think this was more Auburn taking advantage of what was given to them. Also, I will strike this up as an outlier to what we’ve seen so far this season. The very encouraging thing for me is the Auburn pitching staff and especially the bullpen. Mason Barnett went 4.2 innings and if you cut off the 5th inning performance, Mason gave up no runs on 3 hits with 4 Ks and 2 walks. In that 5th is when the TTU offense (an offense that has not been held below 5 runs all season mind you) finally broke out for their only scoring inning of the evening at 3 runs. I will take that 10 out of 10 times and hope for a comeback effort. That’s exactly what happened infront of a pro Auburn crowd on a cold Wednesday evening.
The Tigers make the trip back down 280 to play host to another team from the mid-state in the MTSU Blue Raiders for a 3 game set at Plainsman Park. So far this has been a rough year for Middle as they enter with a 4-9 record but do have a solid win over St Johns and Illinois to their credit. A name to keep an eye on for MTSU is Fausto Lopez who enters the weekend with a .333 team leading BA and 3 bombs. Last year, he led the team in doubles with 15 and in stolen bases with 23. As it always is, another sweep would be huge and almost expected as the Tigers have momentum riding along their 7 game win streak. It would also be perfect timing as #2 Ole Miss looms next weekend at the friendly confines.