It appeared it was going to be one of those nights for Auburn that nothing went right.
The Tigers left six men on base through the first three innings as preseason All-American Casey Mize struggled on the mound, allowing four runs through three innings along with a pair of home runs.
It took one inning, however, for Auburn to change the story on this Friday night at Plainsman Park.
Auburn exploded for eight runs in the bottom half of the fourth inning as it cruised to a 15-7 victory over Bryant.
“I thought our guys really hung in there,” Auburn head coach Butch Thompson said. “I thought this was our best offensive performance as a lineup, top to bottom. We really passed it down.
“Our big eight-run inning was guys just passing it down, taking their walks. I thought it was our best evaluation of swinging at strikes and taking balls that our guys had. Once we got the starter out and got to the bullpen, we kept up. We were a threat to score every inning.”
The scoring barrage started with a solo home run by junior college transfer Brett Wright. Following a pair of walks and an error by Bryant, Auburn scored a pair of runs on a passed ball and a bases-loaded walk to knot the game at four.
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Will Holland followed with a two-out, two-run single through the right side to score Brendan Venter and Josh Anthony and give the Tigers a 6-4 lead.
Freshman catcher Steven Williams followed Holland’s clutch hit with a knockout punch, a three-run blast to right-center field to give Auburn a comfortable 9-4 lead.
To much surprise, Mize (2-0) labored through five innings of work, giving up four runs on five hits over five innings of work. The Springville, Alabama, native retired the last six batters he faced and struck out nine.
“I haven’t evaluated the pitches yet,” Thompson said. “They felt up out over the plate to me. I thought he went to three-ball counts and misfired way more. I thought his fifth inning was his best inning and dominant a bit.”
Auburn added single runs in the fifth, sixth and seventh innings along with three runs in the eighth inning to keep Bryant at bay.
Eight of the 10 Auburn position players that played Friday night recorded a RBI with Holland and Williams leading the way with three apiece. All 10 Tigers scored a run in the contest.
Bryant starter Steve Theetge (0-2) took the loss for the Bulldogs as he allowed five runs (two earned) over 3.2 innings.
Tyler Panno finished 2-for-3 for the Bulldogs as he blasted two home runs and drove in six runs.
Auburn (6-0) and Bryant (0-4) will continue the three-game series with a doubleheader on Saturday. Game one of the doubleheader is set for 1 p.m. with the second game following 45 minutes after the conclusion of the first game.
Davis Daniel will be on the mound for Auburn in game one with Tanner Burns following in game two.
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