Auburn floored UAB Wednesday night in an in-state matchup. The Tigers, led by Bryson Ware and Mason Barnett, beat the Blazers 16-1.
"This is probably our most complete game," said head coach Butch Thompson. "This is what we've been talking about."
It was a rough start for Auburn pitcher Barnett who got his first start of the season Wednesday night.
The junior pitcher allowed a leadoff double, and after back-to-back sacrifice flys for UAB, the Blazers took a 1-0 lead.
After a scoreless bottom half of the first, Barnett came back on the mound and responded well. Barnett struck out two batters and forced another into a routine groundout to put the Blazers away in quick order.
Auburn's bats began to wake up in the second inning.
Cam Hill drew a walk to open the inning, and after advancing to second on a balk, Cole Foster hit a single down the third base line to put runners on the corners. Foster moved to second thanks to a wild pitch, and Ware scorched a pitch to the wall which brought home both runners and gave Auburn the lead.
The Tigers were not done, however.
Catcher Jake Wyandt hit a liner to left field for his first hit of the season, which allowed Ware to score from second.
Barnett continued to deal in the third inning, striking out the first two batters of the frame to bring his strikeout count to five. UAB hit a single later in the inning, but an easy groundout ended the inning peacefully for the Tigers.
Barnett noted that his faith in the offense made it easy to relax and find his rhythm pitching.
"In the first inning we didn't score, but I was like 'we have one of the best offenses out there,'" Barnett said. "I wasn't worried one bit. Then when the runs came it was just icing on the cake."
Auburn kept riding the momentum from the second inning into the third.
With a flurry of walks drawn and a single from Hill, Auburn found the bases loaded with no outs. A fielder's choice gave the Blazers their first out of the inning, but Auburn kept the bases loaded. Ware launched one into the gap between right and center field to clear the bases and handed Auburn a 6-1 lead through three innings played.
This gave Ware five RBIs in the game already, one shy of his career-high which he set just a week ago against Troy.
The top of the fourth inning mirrored the previous two as Barnett once again struck out two batters to keep the Blazers quiet offensively. Recording seven strikeouts through four innings, UAB had no answer for the right-handed pitcher.
Auburn grew its lead to six in the bottom of the fourth inning when Wyandt scored from third due to a wild pitch. Auburn's hot hitting forced UAB to go deep into its bullpen to try to stop the Tigers. The wild pitch came from JC Sewell who marked the Blazers' fifth pitcher in four innings.
The UAB bullpen walked seven batters and hit four batters by pitch.
UAB put away the first two batters of the fifth inning, but an error on an infield popup prolonged the inning and Auburn took advantage of the Blazers' mistake.
With two outs, Wyandt singled to center to score Ware and grab his second RBI of the game. Ryan Dyal scored on an infield single, Wyandt scored after a liner hit the pitcher and trickled into the outfield and Rambusch scored after Hill drew a walk with the bases loaded prompting Auburn to increase its lead to 11-1.
Barnett was replaced by Chase Allsup in the sixth inning who took care of business in his one inning pitched.
Barnett exited the game with five innings pitched, two hits allowed, one earned run, eight strikeouts and zero walks.
Thompson was adamant postgame about his belief in Barnett.
"I couldn't be more excited," Thompson said. "Because the journey's been a constant fight at least for a moment here, and we hopefully got something we can grab hold to."
Auburn added three more runs in the sixth inning after Ware recorded his sixth RBI, tying his career-high, with a triple which scored Garrett Farquhar. A pair of Tigers scored later after another UAB miscue in the infield cost them a couple runs.
Cade Granzow came on in relief of Allsup, and though Granzow gave up a hit and hit one batter with a pitch, he did not allow any runs as Auburn held on to its commanding lead.
Redshirt junior Garrett Wade came in an inning later and held UAB scoreless as well along with a strikeout.
Bobby Peirce entered the game in the eighth inning and grabbed himself an RBI when Nate LaRue scored from second after a Peirce single.
Ben Bosse finished the game for Auburn on Wednesday night. The freshman from Texas made his third appearance of the season to solidify Auburn's win.
Auburn had 11 players record a hit and nine record a run.
Auburn begins a four-game series Friday night against Rhode Island , including a doubleheader on Saturday. Friday's game will begin at 6 p.m. CST.
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Jacob is a sophomore from Leeds, Alabama. This is his second year with The Auburn Plainsman.