Although both Casey Mize and Brady Singer will be sure-fire first round picks in June’s MLB draft, someone had to lose in April’s SEC showdown.
The duo both went seven innings as Singer ultimately outshined Auburn’s ace on the scoreboard, winning Game 1 of the series 3-1 Thursday in Gainesville, Florida.
Florida junior Jonathan India (2-for-2, 2 RBI) went yard in his first at-bat, pinning the Tigers down with an early 2-0 lead. Freshman Brady Smith added a single to left in the fourth, scoring India.
“First inning, give all the credit to India,” said Auburn head coach Butch Thompson. “We were chasing that the whole ballgame, but man, (Mize) settled in. Just three hits but that one extra-base hit by India was the difference in the ballgame.
"But he finished so strong -- 10 strikeouts, one walk --and just competed great. We out-hit them by one but we’ve got to have tougher at-bats in moments."
After entering the contest fifth nationally in strikeouts (94), Mize eclipsed the century mark and tossed 10 Ks, his fourth double-digit performance of 2018. The junior allowed three hits and one walk in his second loss of the season (8-2).
Sophomore Elliot Anderson emerged from the bullpen to relieve Mize in the eighth and was quickly pulled for Calvin Coker. The two combined for 0.3 innings of work with one hit, one walk and one K.
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Singer moved to 9-1 with eight strikeouts. The native Floridian allowed five Auburn hits but held the Tigers to a 0-for-5 clip with runners in scoring position in seven innings of work. He was replaced by lefty Jordan Butler then freshman Michael Byrne, who earned the save (11).
Auburn’s lone score came in the fourth on a Jay Estes RBI groundout, scoring freshman Eduoard Julien. After shredding opposing pitchers through its six-game win streak, the Auburn offense was thwarted by Singer and the Gators defense, batting only 5-for-31 and 1-for-13 with runners on in the loss.
"(Auburn has) played so good for the entire season," Thompson said. "They're just not going to open the window. They're human, and we'll open the window. We can't blink. We can't get discouraged, because whenever that window opens, we got to be ready to attack and get through there and make it happen."
Game 2 is set for 5:30 p.m. CST Friday. Freshman Tanner Burns (3-4) will toe the mound for Auburn.
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