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Tanner Burns ties Auburn strikeout record in win over Cincinnati

<p>Tanner Burns (7) pitches during Auburn baseball vs. Bryant on Saturday, Feb. 24, 2018, in Auburn, Ala.</p>

Tanner Burns (7) pitches during Auburn baseball vs. Bryant on Saturday, Feb. 24, 2018, in Auburn, Ala.

It took 11 batters for Cincinnati to get a player on base.

Tanner Burns threw the first complete game of his career and tied the program record with 15 strikeouts to get the Tigers the 5-0 win over the Bearcats.

“Tanner had great command from the first pitch,” Matt Scheffler said. “He was electric all night.”

Burns struck out six of the first nine batters that he faced. His previous career high for strikeouts was eight, and he surpassed that number in the fifth inning with his ninth strikeout.

“Tonight I had all three pitches, and it felt really well,” Burns said. “I call it the fifth-inning hump, and right when I got passed the fifth inning I knew it was gonna be pretty fun.”

Burns allowed two hits on the day with no walks.

“It was pretty clean,” said Auburn head coach Butch Thompson. “It felt like one of the most dominating performances, outside of the no-hitter that Casey threw here last year.”

The other five Tigers to strikeout 15 are Casey Mize, Chris Bootcheck, Tim Hudson, John Powell and Mark Chapman.

Thompson said that Burns came into the game knowing that he was going to try out a new grip for his breaking ball for the first time.

“You’re always trying to develop your game or find your game, and you're always trying to look to try to grow,” Thompson said. "And Tanner gave us a great example of that tonight.”

Opposite Burns on the mound, Auburn scored two runs in the bottom of the fourth on a fielder’s choice RBI by Kason Howell and a squeeze play by Scheffler that allowed Everett Lau to come home.

Rankin Woley hit a single in the bottom of the fifth that scored Will Holland followed by a two-run home run by Steven Williams to get the Tigers their fourth and fifth runs on the board.

Auburn and Cincinnati will face each other in a doubleheader on Saturday. Jack Owen will get the start for the first game, with game one set to start at 1 p.m.

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