Auburn's offense was on fire all game.
Smashing back-to-back hits from its first two batters and ending with a five-run eighth inning, Auburn finished with 18 hits in Friday's 16-7 win vs Coastal Carolina, replicating Auburn's offensive explosion that helped the Tigers cruise to an NCAA Tournament regional win last season.
"Probably our best offensive game of the season," Auburn coach Butch Thompson said.
The top of the lineup, Judd Ward and Ryan Bliss, each had three hits. Near the bottom of the order, Steven Williams had four hits and five RBIs, including a three-run homer that gave Auburn a 6-2 lead in the fourth inning. All of Auburn's nine batters recorded at least one hit.
"Everybody was really hitting the ball today really good, all around the yard," said Bliss, who drove in three runs. "Steven's home run was really a momentum changer, a game-changer. To see him get going, it really fired up the whole lineup. It just set the tempo."
"This was like a new start of my season," said Williams, who raised his average from .227 to .240. "What happened in the regular season happened. This is a new season for me and for all us. We just came out with a fresh mind, just wanted to have fun and play the game."
Conor Davis, an Atlanta native, added a home run of his own in the sixth inning. The homer was his seventh of the season.
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"I loved it," Davis said. "I heard the place erupt. I heard my brother, my girlfriend and my little sister up in the stands yelling for me. When I hit home plate I pointed up at them."
Auburn swept the Raleigh Regional last season thanks to some offensive firepower, scoring 40 runs and belting 50 hits in three games. Now a year later, the Tigers' timely offensive surge seems to be continuing.
"If we can repeat what we did last year in the regional, that would be pretty good, and I'd definitely be okay with that," said Williams, who tallied eight of the Tigers' 50 hits in regional play in 2018. "The potential has been there the whole time, the whole year.
"It's taken a little bit of time for us to figure some things out. We've had our ups and downs, but this game was really big for us, getting our momentum going. If we can carry that momentum into tomorrow and the rest of the regional, I think we'll be set up pretty well."
Auburn wrote Rod Bramblett's initials on their hats in honor of Auburn baseball's play-by-play announcer for the past 27 seasons. Bramblett and his wife, Paula, died last Saturday from injuries in a car accident.
"Rod and his family will be a part of the Auburn baseball program for history," Williams said. "We're glad we can come out here and we could play for him and get a good win today."
"I think it showed that Rod had a little push for us today," Davis said. "He's going to be with us all week."
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