Last season, Auburn did not win its first conference series until midway through April. It took five series until Auburn finally won two-of-three against an SEC foe. This season, it only took one opportunity.
Auburn knocked off No. 5 Florida for the second straight day as Casey Mize’s seven strong innings led the Tigers to a 2-1 victory.
Mize allowed one unearned run and scattered five hits. He struck out eight and moved to 3-0 on the season. His ERA dwindled to 0.25.
Mize demonstrated spectacular clutch pitching Saturday afternoon as the sophomore worked his way out of two bases-loaded jams.
After Mize allowed three-straight singles in the fifth, Josh Anthony got the force out at the plate on a dribbler to third and caught a popup in foul territory for the first two outs. Mize then induced a ground out to first to end the inning with no damage done.
In the seventh inning, the Gators again loaded the bases, but their lone run of the day came across on an inning-ending 6-4-5 rundown double play.
“Casey just competed so good,” Auburn head coach Butch Thompson said. “You just look at moments in the ballgame like we do every day when we recap them. Going out to the mound with bases-loaded and nobody out. We were able to go back to the windup. He asked if we could go back to the windup. It’s just a conversation and you hopefully build belief off of that. For the third baseman there, for Josh Anthony, where the ball takes you is where you have to go. The ball took him right to the plate. We get the force, we get a popup and then we get a groundball to first. That propelled us today. It was a completely different ballgame today. Both offenses were grinding and as good as Casey and Cole were today, I enjoy great pitching, and their guy, Singer, gave them a great start. It was just a great battle and great college baseball game.”
Auburn improved to 16-5 on the season and 2-0 in SEC play with the victory.
Mize allowed only one walk and threw 96 pitches in seven innings. Cole Lipscomb relieved him in the seventh and shook off hitting the first batter he faced to go perfect the rest of the way for his third save of the season.
Jonah Todd scored the first run of the game for Auburn in the third after a four-pitch walk. He advanced to second on a passed ball and to third and ultimately home on a pair of balks by Florida’s Brady Singer. Luke Jarvis plated Jay Estes for the Tigers’ other run in the fourth on a double down the line.
Jarvis was a career-best 3-for-3 and Estes had two hits.
Singer took the loss with two runs allowed in seven innings. He dropped to 2-1 on the year.
The Gators (13-7, 0-2) were led offensively by Nelson Maldonado and Christian Hicks, who each had a pair of hits.
Auburn will go for the sweep of Florida tomorrow afternoon at Plainsman Park at 1 p.m.