Auburn, Ala.—Auburn got back on the winning track in a big way Tuesday night at Plainsman Park as the Tigers pounded Alabama State 10-2 behind a strong pitching outing from true freshman Trey Wingenter out of the bullpen.
Improving to 14-6 on the season, Auburn got three hits from Cullen Wacker as part of a 13-hit night, but it was Wingenter’s performance that stole the show for the Tigers. Coming on in relief of starter Will Kendall after he allowed a run on three hits in two innings, the big right-hander allowed just one run on three hits in five innings to pick up his first career win.
"It was great," Wingenter says. "I have been working hard just waiting on my opportunity and I finally got my chance. I felt pretty good out there."
At the plate Auburn got two hits each from Ryan Tella, Patrick Savage and Blake Austin to show some life offensively after a rough weekend at the plate against a talented Vanderbilt staff. Pawlowski says it was good to see the Tigers take care of business as they prepare to face Southern Miss on Wednesday before traveling to LSU this weekend.
"The guys came out with a good presence of mind that we needed to play well against a good team and I thought we did that," Pawlowski says. "They kept battling and came up with some big hits today, which was important. I'm very encouraged by some of the guys we threw out there today, just some solid outings from some of our younger guys."
Alabama State took the early lead on Tuesday night as Waldyvan Estrada hit his fifth home run of the season to lead off the second inning against Kendall, but it wouldn’t take long for the Tigers to jump back in front.
Leading off the second inning, Ryan Tella doubled and moved to third on a Patrick Savage fly ball to bring Damek Tomscha to the plate. Working the count, the third baseman was hit by a pitch to put runners on the corners for Austin. One of only three regulars hitting over .300 entering the game, Austin singled home Tella to up his average and put the Tigers on the board. Up next, Dan Glevenyak hit what appeared to be an inning-ending double play, but first baseman Dexter Price dropped the ball allowing Tomscha to score and put Auburn up 2-1.
With Wingenter in control on the mound after coming on in the third inning, the Auburn offense went back to work in the fourth as Savage singled to start things off and moved to second on a wild pitch. With one out Austin drove a pitch deep to right-center to easily score Savage for the two-run lead. Trying to stretch things out, Austin was thrown out at third for out number two.
That didn’t kill the Auburn rally however as Glevenyak walked with Jackson Burgreen following with a single to put a pair of runners on for Jordan Ebert. Facing reliever Hunter McIntosh, the freshman second baseman sliced a single to right field to score Glevenyak. Putting on the double steal, Auburn sent Ebert from first base and that drew a throw from Alabama State catcher Richard Gonzalez.
Cullen Wacker had three hits for the Tigers.
Unfortunately for the Hornets, the throw bounced into center field for the error, allowing Burgreen to score the third run of the inning. With Ebert in scoring position Wacker delivered a double to left field to make it 6-1 Tigers. The senior was thrown out trying to stretch the hit to a triple to end the inning, but the damage was done.
Alabama State got a run back in the top of the fifth inning before Auburn exploded again to break things open in the seventh. Loading the bases with nobody out, the Tigers got a single from Tella to score two runs and make it an 8-2 lead. A Savage double and a Kody Ortman sacrifice fly put Auburn up 10-2.
That's how this one would finish as Matt Shultz and Craig Shirley pitched scoreless innings in the eighth and ninth to shut the door on Alabama State.
Auburn will return to action Wednesday night at 7 p.m. as the Tigers take on Southern Miss in Mobile at Hank Aaron Stadium.
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