In a long 18-inning day at Plainsman Park, Auburn completed a three-game sweep of Bryant in a variety of ways. In game one it was the Tigers’ offense that led them to a 13-4 victory, but in game two, it was all about pitching in a tight 3-1 win.
“In this stretch of games, we’ve played a lot of close, competitive moment ballgames,” Auburn head coach Butch Thompson said. “There’s nothing better than locking in for 12 hours. A lot of guys played 18 innings today and it just requires a lot of mental focus.
“I thought we just hung in there.”
In game one of Saturday’s twin bill, Auburn used an inning similar to that of the fourth inning they used Friday night, scoring six runs in the sixth inning to break a 4-4 tie and cruise to the 13-4 victory.
Jeremy Johnson opened the scoring with a two-run single scoring Cade Evans and Will Holland to give the Tigers a 6-4 lead.
Following a hit batsmen and a walk, sophomore Conor Davis laced a three-run double to center field to bust the game open for the Tigers.
Edouard Julien concluded the inning with a pinch-hit RBI single through the right side.
Auburn added three runs in the seventh inning with RBIs from Davis, Jay Estes and Josh Anthony.
For the second straight game, Auburn’s starting pitcher struggled on the mound, as sophomore Davis Daniel went just 3.2 innings before being replaced by Elliott Anderson. Daniel allowed four runs on seven hits as his ERA swelled to 6.97 through two starts.
Anderson (1-0) picked Davis up with 2.1 perfect innings out of the Auburn bullpen to earn his first victory of the season.
Nathan Wrighter (0-1) took the loss for Bryant in game one of the doubleheader as he allowed three runs in 0.2 innings out of the Bulldogs’ bullpen.
Ryan Ward and Sam Owens each tallied three hits for the Bulldogs while Nick Angelini blasted his first home run of the season.
All nine of Auburn’s starters scored a run in game two of the series. Davis finished with four RBI, while Anthony, Johnson and Steven Williams each had two.
In the nightcap, Tanner Burns gave the Tigers a brilliant start and Brendan Venter provided the clutch hit they needed.
With the score knotted at one with one out in the bottom of the eighth, Venter launched his second home run of the season to give the Tigers a 2-1 lead. Auburn added an insurance run on a bases-loaded walk by Anthony.
“First pitch fastball, I didn’t pick it up very well,” Venter said. “Then when he threw a slider, it kind of popped up out of his hand. I was able to put a good swing on it.”
Burns was brilliant in his second outing of his college career, allowing just one run on two hits over seven innings. The freshman from Decatur, Alabama struck out eight and walked just two. He retired the final 11 batters he faced.
“Tanner Burns definitely got my game ball in the second game,” Thompson said. “He competed well and battled. His best inning was his last inning.”
Calvin Coker (2-0) relieved Burns and fired two scoreless innings to earn the victory out of the bullpen. Coker struck out four of the eight batters he faced.
Bryant starter Vito Morgese was the bright spot for the Bulldogs as he fired six scoreless innings and allowed just three hits. He struck out eight in a tough-luck no-decision.
Auburn (8-0) will return to action on Tuesday as it travels to South Alabama. First pitch is set for 6:30 p.m. CST.
“I just feel like we’ve played solid in all three facets and that’s probably why were getting off to a solid start,” Thompson said about his team’s undefeated start. “It hadn’t just been pitching, it hadn’t just been hitting, it hadn’t just been defense. All three have been very solid.”