No. 19 Auburn turned the tables on No. 12 Texas A&M (26-10-1, 8-5-1 SEC) on Saturday night. After the Tigers were shut out in game one of the series, they returned the favor in game two with a 7-0 win over the Aggies.
The Tigers’ offense got off to a quick start with a three-run top of the first. Kason Howell got the first hit of the night with a single, and he advanced on Edouard Julien’s 10th double of the season. Howell got Auburn on the board by scoring on a wild pitch, and Conor Davis brought Julien and himself across the plate with his fourth home run of the year. Before an Auburn pitcher ever took the mound, they had the back up of a 3-0 lead.
"After yesterday, there was a lot of talk about how we just need to keep doing what we're doing," Davis said. "I know we've had a little bit of a slump lately, but we've just been sticking to what we know, grinding and having a lot of fight in us.”
After the quick start to the game, the Tigers’ offense stayed off the board until the ninth, when they scored four more runs. Howell hit another single that made it a four-run lead then Davis drew a walked that walked in Auburn’s fifth run. Judd Ward hit a double that brought home the sixth and seventh runs of the game.
Howell, Ryan Bliss, Matt Scheffler and Steven Williams all had two hits each, accounting for eight of the 11 Tiger hits. This is the second straight multi-hit game for Williams.
"I just saw a huge focus by our offense today," said head coach Butch Thompson.”Even how we finished. It wasn't just the start, but it was the finish also. We were focused for nine innings. That's the consistency you want to breed. Now you start hunting for another nine innings of consistent baseball tomorrow."
Auburn (24-11, 8-6 SEC) pitchers Brooks Fuller, Ryan Watson and Cody Greenhill combined for the shut out. Fuller earned his second win on his career, while Aggies’ pitcher Asa Lacy earned his first loss of the season.
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Lacy threw a season-low 4.2 innings and struck out a season-low four batters. He entered the weekend series with 14.61 strikeouts per nine innings, the fourth best strikeout average in the nation.
For the Tigers, Fuller threw a season-high 6.0 innings, allowed just four hits and three walks. He struck out four.
"I just threw strikes today," Fuller said. "(The offense) gave me a three-run lead in the first inning, and that was a good cushion. But really the name of the game today was strikes.”
Fuller’s night ended in the seventh after he issued a lead off walk, and Watson came in from the bullpen. Greenhill took the mound in the eighth with two outs and two runners in scoring position. Hr returned to close out the game and recorded his eighth save of the season. This was his sixth in a conference game, an SEC-best.
With the series even at 1-1, tiebreaker game three is scheduled for 1 p.m. CST on Sunday. Richard Fitts will make his second straight SEC start for Auburn.
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