Tigers Falter In 8-1 Loss To Samford

Auburn (19-11) struggled from start to finish in an 8-1 loss to the Samford Bulldogs on Tuesday night at Plainsman Park.

Auburn, Ala.--Samford took advantage of Auburn mistakes to score three runs in the third inning and the Bulldogs never looked back as they blasted the Tigers 8-1 Tuesday night at Plainsman Park. Coach Sunny Golloway's club committed four errors and added a pair of wild pitches and a passed ball on the way to its fourth loss in the last six games.

Getting ready to hit the road to Ole Miss this weekend in SEC play, Auburn falls to 19-11 overall with the loss while Samford improves to 17-11. Struggling in every phase of the game Tuesday night, Golloway said it was a disappointing performance for his team and one that hurts him to the core.

"It's tough on them," Golloway said. "It's tough. There is a fine line between when you walk in there and peel the paint and when you walk in and start hugging and loving on people. There won't be any paint-peeling tonight because it's tough on them.

"I don't know where we are still as a program," he added. "I can tell you this. It's really frustrating personally, I don't mind telling you that. I'm not used to what's going on, I'm just not. Coming from a program where we won 40 (games) five-straight years and we could go to the bullpen and throw six guys in a game like today (and win).

"Nothing against Samford, because they've got a good club, but when you get to be a good program that's what you can do. We're so far away from being able to do that, I'm sitting here scratching my head. The athletes are as good, but the psyche is not as good and the roller-coaster ride of up and down has been really tough on our kids. What we've got to learn to do is not create that ourselves."

Making his third start of the season, sophomore Trey Wingenter didn't get any help from his teammates and was a hard-luck loser on Tuesday night. Allowing just three unearned runs on four hits in five innings, he struck out seven and walked two. Cole Limbaugh got the win for Samford, allowing one run on five hits in four and one/third innings. Entering the game having allowed 14 runs in 19 ? innings this season in 13 appearances, Parker Curry allowed just one hit and no runs in three innings out of the Samford bullpen.

While the Samford bullpen was clutch on the night, the Auburn bullpen was anything but. Six Tiger pitchers combined to pitch the final four innings on Tuesday night, allowing five runs on four hits. It continues a troubling trend for Golloway, something that has him concerned about his club at the moment.

"I thought he threw the ball well," Golloway said. "He really did. He got in trouble and we had some miscues defensively, and that got his pitch count up there really quick. He got tired quick too. He threw the baseball really well for us, but it's the same thing. We've got to find somebody out of that bullpen other than Jay Wade and Terrance Dedrick. We've got to find somebody."

At the plate Auburn was led by sophomore Jordan Ebert with two hits as the Tigers finished with just seven hits on the night. The bottom of the Tigers' order combined to go 0-15 with four strikeouts as they couldn't get anything going against Samford.

The game started off well enough for the Tigers as one-out singles from Ryan Tella and Damek Tomscha in the first inning brought catcher Blake Austin to the plate. Swinging a hot bat, Austin singled through the left side to plate Tella with Tomscha moving to third on the plate. With a chance for a big inning with Daniel Robert at the plate, Auburn instead ran itself into trouble as Tomscha tried to score from third on a shallow fly ball to left field. He was easily thrown out to end the inning and Auburn's offense wouldn't threaten again.

Following two scoreless innings to start, Wingenter ran into trouble in the third as singles from Hunter Swilling and Bryson brought number nine hitter Jared Watson to the plate. Digging his hole even deeper, Wingenter walked Watson to load the bases with nobody out for the top of the Samford order. Coming back to get a strikeout of T.J. Dixon, the Auburn right-hander coaxed a ground ball off the bat of Tyler Filliben to Tomscha at third base. Stepping on the bag at third, Tomscha's throw to first for the double play bounced off the helmet of Filliben for an error.

The throwing miscue allowed Swilling to score and tied the game at one. That was just the beginning of a night to forget for Tomscha. Catcher Drew McWhorter followed with a ground ball of his own to Tomscha. On the move towards the mound, Tomscha's throw wasn't even close to hitting its target. With the ball bouncing off the brick wall at Plainsman Park and down the right field line, two more Samford runners crossed the plate to make it 3-1.

That's all Limbaugh would need as he worked into the fifth inning before being replaced by Curry. With Auburn's offense doing nothing, Samford broke the game open in the seventh to win going away. Facing reliever Justin Camp, the Bulldogs got a leadoff walk to Watson and a one-out single from Filliben to put them in business.

Bringing in Trey Cochran-Gill to try to slow the bleeding, the Tigers instead got another walk to load the bases with one out. Following a strikeout, Tripp Martin delivered the first nail in Auburn's coffin with a single to right field to score two and make it a 5-1 lead. With runners on the corners Cochran-Gill uncorked a wild pitch to give Samford a five-run cushion.

Facing Reid Carter in the eighth, the Bulldogs got a leadoff single from Swilling to bring Bryson to the plate. Getting a pitch to handle, the first baseman lifted it over the wall in left field for his five home run of the season. That made it 8-1 and put the finishing touches on a disappointing loss for the Tigers.

Auburn will return to action this weekend when the Tigers travel to Oxford to face the Ole Miss Rebels in a huge three-game series.

Game Two Box Score

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