Auburn’s season has had many up and downs this season, but nearly all of the downs have come away from Plainsman Park.
The Tigers’ road woes continued Tuesday night as Troy outlasted the Tigers 9-5 in a delay-filled affair inside Riddle-Pace Field.
13 of Auburn's 18 losses this season have come on the road.
The Auburn bullpen was the issue versus the Trojans, as Welby Malczewski, Calvin Coker and Elliott Anderson combined to give up eight of the nine runs that the Trojans tallied.
"We're just not playing very inspired baseball currently at a huge time of the season," Auburn head coach Butch Thompson said. "Not a lot of coach speak or a lot of happiness or a lot of good things to say to make something up and make it fluffy for this one. We'll just have to regroup."
Entering the fourth inning knotted at one, Auburn notched a three-spot on the board with a bases-loaded walk by Jay Estes and a two-run fielder’s choice off the bat of Judd Ward.
Troy came back firing in the sixth inning as Malczewski allowed a run on a RBI groundout by Brody Binder.
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With two outs, the Trojans loaded the bases with a double and a pair of four-pitch walks to chase Malczewski.
Coker entered the fray out of Butch Thompson’s bullpen and allowed a go-ahead, three-run double to Drew Frederic.
With two on and one out in the top of the seventh, a 33-minute rain delay caused a brief respite prior to the seventh-inning stretch.
Following the delay, Auburn tied the game with a two-out, bases-loaded walk by Edouard Julien.
Following the game-tying walk, lightning struck around Riddle-Pace Field causing a 57-minute delay.
Once the storms passed, Brendan Venter popped out to end Auburn’s bases-loaded threat.
The Trojans rallied for two runs in the bottom of seventh inning that proved to be the difference, as Cole Prestegard came through with a pinch-hit, two-run double that proved to be the difference.
Troy added two more runs in the bottom of the eighth on a two-run blast by Joey Denison.
"Our bullpen is just not making pitches," Thompson said. "This is a four-run stretch on the road here where our bullpen, and kind of the same guys, just not showing up and giving us a chance in the ballgame.
"We got some hits, but we're just not getting them when it matters, when the bases are loaded. We needed baserunners late, and we're jumping out of the way. Nobody was interested in standing in the gap, putting their chin down on it and making a pitch, getting a hit or just reaching base when it matters most to get back in a ballgame."
Coker (3-2) took the loss for the Tigers (35-18), who lost their fourth straight game.
Troy’s CJ Carter (7-4) picked up the win for Troy (36-17).
Auburn will return to action on Thursday as it hosts LSU in its final series of the regular season. First pitch is set for 6 p.m. CST. The game can be seen on ESPNU.
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