Auburn, Ala.—Auburn built an early lead against Samford on Tuesday night at Plainsman Park and made it stand up as the Tigers held off the Bulldogs for a 7-5 baseball win.
Four Tigers contributed two hits apiece on the night as Coach John Pawlowski’s club rebounded from a terrible weekend to get a much needed victory before heading to Vanderbilt this weekend.
“That’s a good team,” Pawlowski said of Samford. “That’s a quality team and we knew they weren’t going away. We opened the door for them a little bit on some routine plays that we’ve got to make. At the end of the day we got the win. It was an important win for us against a good team.
“Our team needed some confidence,” he added. “We put a lot of guys in there to pitch. Trey Cochran-Gill got his first collegiate start and I thought he did a good job. We used a bunch of guys that had not been in there.
"Cory Luckie hadn’t been in there in a while. Justin Bryant, the last time he was in there was against them at their place. He battled through one walk, but made some big pitches when he needed to. I thought we did some good things in situations tonight.”
Using six different pitchers, Auburn (18-14) allowed 14 hits to Samford, but held the Bulldogs (20-13) to only five runs. Cochran-Gill earned the win to improve to 2-1 after allowing no runs on three hits in two and two/thirds innings.
Luckie and Dillon Ortman each gave up a run while Slade Smith allowed three unearned runs on four hits in one and one/third innings. Auburn allowed just one earned run on the night.
At the plate shortstop Dan Glevenyak was one of four players with two hits on the night after moving to the leadoff spot for the first time this season. He said it was a familiar role for him and he just wanted to do his part in the win.
“It was a pretty good feeling for me to move up to the leadoff position,” Glevenyak said. “I haven’t done that since last year at junior college. I saw the lineup sheet today and knew all I had to do was try to get on base.”
With one out in the second inning the Auburn offense got going up thanks to some help from the Bulldogs. A walk to Cullen Wacker started things off with a Creede Simpson single moving the senior around to third. Simpson moved to second on the throw to put runners in scoring position for Zach Alvord.
Wacker slides into third after a Simpson single.
Back in the lineup, Alvord singled through the right side to score Wacker and put runners on the corners for Jay Gonzalez. Executing the squeeze bunt to perfection, Gonzalez plated Simpson and reached first on the play. Following a fly ball out by Blake Austin, the Tigers doubled their lead on an infield single by Glevenyak. Alvord scored on the play and when the throw from Austin Allison bounced away at first, Gonzalez ran across for the 4-0 lead.
In the third inning a Simpson two-out double scored Garrett Cooper for a 5-0 Auburn lead, but the Bulldogs would answer in the top of the fourth. Facing Luckie, who came on for Cochran-Gill in the third, Brandon Miller walked and was followed up by an infield single from Phillip Ervin to put Samford in business.
Things could have been much worse for Auburn as Luckie got designated hitter C.K. Irby to hit a comebacker to the mound that started a 1-5-3 double play to get two quick outs. A single by Tommy Corbin to left field scored Ervin from second to put the Bulldogs on the board, but that would be all as Luckie got a ground ball to keep it 5-1 Auburn in the middle of the fourth.
That’s how things would remain until the top of the seventh inning as the Bulldogs got to Smith out of the bullpen. In his second inning of work after throwing 66 pitches on Saturday, Smith allowed a leadoff single to Zeth Stone before he misplayed a bunt from Brad Moss to put runners on first and second.
It proved to be a big mistake as Saxon Butler hit a liner to Glevenyak at shortstop and his leaping grab and throw to Simpson at second would have ended the inning. Instead a wild pitch moved Moss to second where he scored moments later on a single by Brandon Miller.
Ervin again delivered for Samford with a single to right field to put runners on first and second for Irby. Facing Ortman, Irby blasted a triple to right field that scored both runners and made it 5-4 Tigers.
Needing some insurance Auburn went to work at the plate in the bottom of the seventh as Bryant singled to right field. Wacker followed with a double to deep left field that scored the senior for the two-run Auburn lead. Following a Simpson strikeout Alvord ripped a single to left field to score Wacker to make it 7-4 Tigers.
Another mistake cost Auburn in the top of the eighth as Glevenyak threw wildly to first base on a one-out ground ball by Allison. The error was compounded as the ball rolled into the camera well to move the runner to second. Following a ground out, Brad Moss singled to left field to score the run and cut the Auburn lead back to two.
Once again the Tigers didn’t make it easy on themselves in the ninth inning as Ervin singled with one out against Ortman for his fourth hit of the game to bring the tying run to the plate to face Bryant. Struggling to find the strike zone, Bryant walked Irby to put a pair of runners on for Corbin.
Bryant got a ground ball to first for the second out of the inning to bring Kevin Putkonen to the plate. After giving up a grand slam to lose to Samford the last time out, Bryant finished this one off with a ground ball out to end the game and earn his fourth save.
Auburn will hit the road this weekend to face Vanderbilt in a three-game series in Nashville.
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