After three innings, it looked as if it would be a low-scoring affair Tuesday night, but the Tiger offense found its rhythm in the fourth and never looked back.
“The offense, ever since Samford last week, we’ve just been doing a pretty good job there and giving us a chance in our ballgames,” Auburn coach Butch Thompson said. “That offense is getting good, still playing good defense and starting pitching. Kind of the recipe.
Auburn shortstop Luke Jarvis headlined the offensive onslaught, grabbing four hits and hitting a grand slam to cap a 12-run fourth inning as Auburn cruised to a 15-7 win over Kennesaw State Tuesday at Stillwell Stadium.
Tigers’ starter Christian Camacho completed a career-long six innings pitched and allowed only one run on five hits. He threw first-pitch strikes to 25 batters, struck out four, and did not issue a walk.
“Christian Camacho had a great start and got one of our game balls,” Auburn head coach Butch Thompson said. “The other one was Luke Jarvis with four hits. Luke Jarvis had a couple of hustle plays and tough foul balls. He threw out the guy at the plate when they had two runners at third base. The offense, I feel like since Samford last week, has been doing a pretty good job. The offense was great tonight.”
The Tigers scored a season-high 12 runs in an inning for the first time since 2013, with the punctuation mark being the grand slam by Jarvis. Auburn sent 15 men to the plate and recorded eight hits to break the game wide open in the top of the fourth. All nine Auburn hitters would score in the inning.
The scoring started in the fourth with Josh Anthony’s second RBI of the day which was followed by a two-run single from Bo Decker. After a double steal, Anthony came in to score on an error. Jeremy Johnson then doubled home Decker and Jay Estes plated two on his 13th double of the season. Daniel Robert was next with an RBI single and after a walk to Blake Logan, Jarvis crushed the first pitch he saw from reliever Turner Watkins over a building in left field for a 13-1 lead.
“I was just trying to see a fastball that I could handle. He threw one in the dirt and then he left a nice one in my zone and I was ready for it and put a good swing on it and it kind of carried. That may have been the furthest ball I’ve ever hit,” said Jarvis of his team-leading fourth home run.
The Tiger bats have been scorching of late, tallying six homers in their last five games including two grand slams. Jarvis’ home run was his team-best fourth of the season. The Auburn shortstop finished with a career-high four hits and five RBIs. He also scored two runs.
Anthony opened the scoring in the second with a RBI single to give Auburn a 1-0 lead. He finished with two hits and two RBIs. Jonah Todd also added two hits. The Tigers also added two runs in the eighth for a 15-2 lead on a Dylan Ingram RBI double and a run-scoring single from Jarvis.
“Everybody had a good at-bat. They kept passing it down,” Thompson said. “Jarvis supplied the big punch but a lot of that in-between there to set it up was taking balls, swinging at strikes, backside, just good approaches by our ball club.
Kennesaw State’s Corey Greeson led the team with two hits including a triple and one RBI. Terence Norman went 2-for-4 with a stolen base, and added a 3-run home run in the eighth.
Owls’ starter Nathan Dupree fell to 0-4 on the season and allowed five runs in 3.1 innings.
The Tigers finish 5-3 on their eight-game road trip and improve to 28-11 overall, while the Owls fall to 17-20.
Auburn returns home to face No. 11 Arkansas this weekend at Plainsman Park for a three-game SEC series beginning Friday at 6 pm CT.