Lipscomb @ Auburn
- FRI: 7-3 W
- SAT: 12-11 W
- SUN: 4-3 W
Going into this weekend, someone asked if I expected a sweep. I said that without Joseph Gonzalez, the offense would have to be on point for that to happen because of Lipscomb’s ability to bash the ball with the middle of their lineup. College baseball is a different animal from any other college sport. This isn’t the name game football is. Heck, it isn’t the name game basketball is. Every now and then you will get an Old Dominion beat a Virginia Tech in Football. You once in a blue moon get a UMBC beat a Virginia. In College Baseball, however, that’s a Tuesday…or a Friday and Saturday (Sup, FSU! How are those Eagles of Florida Gulf Coast?). This Lipscomb squad was a 7th inning that got away from them, away from sweeping Notre Dame to start the year. Yeah, the Notre Dame team that Ol’ Yeller’ed Tennessee last year before heading to Omaha. This is a good ball club and Mississippi State should be put on notice for this weekend and make sure that the Bulldogs aren’t looking ahead to the start of SEC play and the Kentucky Wildcats.
Back to this weekend first though. The Tigers decided to mix up the starting rotation with Gonzo held out one more weekend for tightness in his shoulder (the MRI this past week showed no damage and no need for any type of surgery, just treatment and rest, so very good news), so the Tigers went with Tanner Bauman Friday, Christian Herberholz on Saturday and Zach Crotchfelt on Sunday. Everything went to plan on Friday night as the Tigers went strong on the mound to get the first victory. Bauman went 3.2 giving up a run on 4 hits with 5 Ks and a walk before giving way to John Armstrong who picked up yet another win, his 3rd of the season. This time, Armstrong went 2.1 innings giving up just a run with two hits and threw in 4 Ks for good measure. Chase Allsup finished it off to get his first save of the season going a strong 3 innings of work giving up just a run on a hit with 2 walks and 5 Ks. On the offensive side, it was Kason Howell’s night. The 5th year senior starter went 3-for-5 with 3 doubles, a run scored and 2 RBIs. That first double of the evening also ended up being Kason’s 200th hit as an Auburn Tiger. No one deserved to have a night like this more than Kason who has been a rock for the Auburn outfield since he set foot on campus and has very rarely missed a pitch since he did. Standing ovation to the young man for the hard work and leadership he has put in to the program.
Saturday might have been the game of the series, which is the worst part of the weekend because there was no TV so, I don’t have very man highlights to go along with this. Pitching was optional for both sides as both offenses combined for 33 hits and 23 runs on the day. There are too many stats to relay to you on the Auburn side of things, but Cole Foster had a big day, Bryson Ware did what he has done all year and bashed the ball, Chris Stanfield had an very nice day. However, I think Ware deserves a little bit of the spotlight that was dominated by what happened in the 9th. Ware hit a 2 run bomb that scored the eventual hero of the night Ike Irish to tie things up at 11 as we went to the 9th inning. From there it was all Ike and the offense. The Tigers loaded the bases with 1 out to set the stage for the Freshman.
That gave the Tigers the series win for the 3rd series this season and again gave Auburn the opportunity to get the first sweep of the year.
Sunday was the exact opposite of the previous two days as it was a pitchers duel for a majority of the day. Zach Crotchfelt turned in a solid 4 innings but was the victim of a questionable at best overturn of a pickoff at 1st and then the next pitch was a home run to put the Tigers down 2-0. Auburn was able to get one of those runs back in the 5th to make it a 2-1 ballgame going to the 6th. The Bisons however got it right back in the top half to push it back to a 3-1 lead. On the mound, Hayden Murphy and Parker Carlson did a solid job to combine for 2 innings of work to relieve Crotchfelt and limited the Lipscomb bats to just a run over those 2 innings with 3 hits, a walk and a strike out. John Armstrong followed and completely shut them down from there going 3 innings with 2 Ks and gave the Auburn offense time to figure out the Lipscomb starter Braydon Tucker who was masterful in his 7 innings of work. The offense never did figure out Tucker who was lifted after 7 innings of work and throwing 106 pitches on the day. That was the opening the offense need however. After 2 quick outs of Howell and Foster, Justin Kirby got a double down the line and Ike Irish earned a 4 pitch walk, which set the stage for that man Bryson Ware.
BRYSON. FREAKING. WARE!!— Auburn Baseball (@AuburnBaseball) March 5, 2023
You hang it, he bangs it!!
B8 | Auburn 4, Lipscomb 3 pic.twitter.com/ekuZMILL3a
From there John Armstrong would snuff out any hope the Bisons had to secure the series sweep. That means that during the time Joseph Gonzalez, Auburn ace on the pitching staff, was allowed to sit out and rest the should, Auburn went 5-0-1 on those weekends. Some how, some way, this team found a way to get the job done. It speaks to the talent, the coaching and the leadership this team has and will do nothing but help down the road when things get tough. A solid weekend all the way around to be sure.
A double busy week for the Tigers as they will get a 5 game schedule this week. First, Auburn hosts former player Casey Dunn and the UAB Blazers at Plainsman Park on Tuesday with a 6pm start and that will be on the SECN+. From there it’s a quick trip to Jacksonville to take on the Gamecocks at 6pm on Wednesday before returning back home for a weekend set with last year’s Auburn Regional 4 seed, SE Louisiana. Game times for those are 6 pm Friday, 2pm on Saturday and 1 pm on Sunday. Saturday and Sunday will be on the Network+ and Friday will be a radio only experience so plan your weekend accordingly!