Auburn, Ala.—Creede Simpson went 3-4 with a career-high five RBI as Auburn (6-4) pounded out 12 hits and got 12 walks from Alabama State pitching on the way to a 12-4 win over the Hornets to finish off the mini-sweep in the midweek. Despite the easy win the Tigers again struggled taking advantage of opportunities with 15 left on base and four thrown out on the base paths. That’s something that Coach John Pawlowski said is still troubling for his team through 10 games.
“We talked about being efficient offensively and at the end of the day we scored 12 runs and won the ballgame,” Pawlowski said. “We certainly had many opportunities to open the gate up earlier and have some quality at-bats and put more runs on the board. We weren’t able to do that. Our offense is built around continuing to put pressure on teams and get out there and get in a situation to score some runs. We were fortunate today. We did some good things though, but lots of things to work on.”
Continuing his hot start at the plate, Simpson did everything for the Tigers with three hits and also walked twice. Ryan Tella, Dan Glevenyak and Zach Alvord all finished with two hits on the night, a night that Simpson said should have been much better offensively even with 12 runs on the board.
“It was exciting,” Simpson said. “I’m seeing the ball well right now. I’m just trying to stay back and not do too much with the baseball. I’m trying to hit line drives. It feels good. Five RBI, I didn’t realize that until now. It’s exciting.
“It has been a problem thus far this year is us leaving guys on base,” he added. “Today it was a combination of not getting the big hit and because we had base runners on every inning. We scored 12, but a hit here or there and it would have been a lot more. We definitely need to work on timely hitting and driving them in when we’ve got them out there.”
Simpson slides in with his eighth stolen base of the year.
It was pitching by committee for the Tigers as freshman Rocky McCord started, allowing three runs on five hits in three innings of work. Fellow freshman Trey Cochran-Gill had another solid outing, giving up a run on four hits in three innings. The story of the night on the mound however was senior Cory Luckie. Perfect in two innings of work in the seventh and eighth, Luckie allowed Auburn to break the game open by shutting down the Hornets. Dillon Ortman finished things off in the ninth for the Auburn win.
“I was encouraged by Trey Cochran-Gill,” Pawlowski said. “He pitched into a little tough luck, but had good stuff. Good to see Cory Luckie and Dillon Ortman out there. I thought those guys did a good job for us.”
It was a rough start for McCord as Alabama State used four hits in the first inning to score three runs and take the early lead. The big hit came from shortstop Emmanuel Marrero as he singled with two outs to score a pair of runners for the Hornets.
Auburn began to chip away in the first with Jay Gonzalez getting things started in dramatic fashion. Following his two triple performance on Tuesday, the sophomore blasted one deep to left-center that Richard Amion couldn’t track down. Gonzalez easily coasted into third for his third triple in two games. Simpson then smashed a line drive off the wall in left field to push across the run. Simpson was thrown out trying to stretch the hit into a double and that killed the momentum with the Tigers trailing 3-1 going to the second.
McCord settled down to retire Alabama State in order in the second and Auburn responded with a big inning at the plate. Glevenyak opened things with a single and quickly moved around to third on a passed ball and an error by the ASU catcher. A pair of walks to Alvord and Caleb Bowen loaded the bases with nobody out for Bobby Andrews. The walks continued as Andrews walked to force home the first run of the inning.
Gonzalez then came through again for the Tigers with a ground ball that scored Alvord from third. Andrews was erased on the play, leaving Auburn with runners on the corners and one out. Keeping his speed game going Gonzalez stole second, but on the play the ball got by the catcher allowing him to race around to third. Bowen scored on the play for the third Auburn run of the inning and a 4-3 advantage.
Auburn added two more in the third, but missed a golden opportunity to break the game open. With one out Glevenyak singled and then moved to third on a single by Alvord. Trying to steal second, Alvord was thrown out for the second out in the inning. The Tigers would rebound however thanks to plenty of help from the Hornets as three walks sandwiched around a hit-by-pitch scored two more runs for the 6-3 lead. However Auburn would leave the bases loaded, making six left on base in just three innings.
Dan Glevenyak goes hard into second base
Cochran-Gill came on in relief and pitched a scoreless fourth, but in the fifth Alabama State played the ultimate in small ball to put him in trouble. With one out Waldyvan Estrada hit a blooper to left that fell in for a single. Richard Gonzalez did the same to right field to put runners on the corners for Marcus Swint and the talented freshman’s infield single scored Estrada to cut Auburn’s lead to 6-4.
Once again the Tigers answered as they added a pair of runs in the fifth to make it a four-run advantage. The big blow came off the bat of Simpson with two outs as he doubled home Bowen and Gonzalez to make it 8-4. A Ryan Tella single pushed across another run in the seventh for a five-run advantage and three more in the eighth made it 12-4 Auburn. Ortman finished off things in the ninth to secure the win for the Tigers.
This weekend Auburn will host a tournament at Plainsman Park with Purdue, Charleston Southern and Southern Miss the three teams taking part. It will be played Friday-Sunday.
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