Auburn defeated UAB 6-4 on Tuesday as a huge weekend matchup with Vanderbilt lurks.
“We played hard. We did enough,” said head coach Butch Thompson. “It’s good to learn some stuff as we go into another weekend.”
Auburn used a quartet of pitchers to combine for the in-state win.
Mason Barnett started on the mound. In four innings, Barnett gave up three hits, one run and three walks while collecting five strikeouts.
John Armstrong, who picked up the win for the Tigers, came on in relief in the bottom of the fifth inning. In his 2.1 innings pitched, he surrendered two runs on four hits, one walk and struck out four while giving up a solo home run.
Chase Isbell took over for Armstrong in the bottom of the seventh inning with one out. Only facing two batters, Isbell walked one and got another out for Auburn prior to Chase Allsup coming in to close the game for the Tigers. In his 2.1 innings pitched, Allsup gave up two hits and a solo home run in addition to setting two down on strikes while earning his first collegiate save.
“This has been a dream come true,” Allsup said. “We have a lot of talent that is capable and able to get the job done.”
The Tigers struck early against the Blazers in the top of the first inning.
Blake Rambusch led off the game being hit by a pitch, followed up by a one-out single from Sonny DiChiara to put runners on first and third. An RBI sacrifice fly by Brody Moore scored Rambusch to put the Tigers up 1-0. Cole Foster followed the RBI up with a single, but both DiChiara and Foster were left stranded on the bases to end the threat.
After two quick outs to start the bottom of the first inning, the Blazers drew a walk to put their first base runner on and initiate a two-out rally. Two consecutive two-out singles scored UAB’s first run to even the score at 1-1 when the inning came to a close.
Auburn's second inning got off to a promising start but lead to no avail. Mike Bello led the inning off with a walk, but was thrown out at home trying to score on Bobby Pierce’s double. Pierce was left stranded on second base without the Tigers cashing in to strand a runner in scoring position.
After a Brooks Carlson double and Bello walked for the second time in as many trips to the plate, Auburn was in prime scoring position in the top of the fourth inning.
On what was a potential double-play ball hit by Pierce, Auburn looked to be in danger of missing another opportunity to score, but a throwing error to first allowed Carlson to score and Pierce to advance to second.
Following Pierce moving up another 90 feet on a passed ball, Nate LaRue singled to plate Auburn’s second run of the inning, bringing the score to 3-1.
Like Auburn in the second inning, UAB was in prime position to add more runs to the board with bases loaded and two outs. However, the Blazers failed to push across any runs, a common theme that came back to haunt them at the end of the game.
Even with the disappointment of the previous inning, UAB added to its total in the bottom of the fifth inning. A solo home run brought the score to 3-2 with two outs.
The Blazers attempted to grab the lead back and add tack on a few more runs with two consecutive singles, but the opportunity was squandered once again with both runners left on base to end the inning.
The ever-changing UAB pitchers worked in Auburn’s favor in the top of the seventh inning. Rambusch singled and Bryson Ware drew a walk to put runners on first and second for the Tigers. DiChiara chased both runners across the plate with a double, pushing their lead to 5-2.
UAB continued to answer the Tigers in the bottom of the seventh. The Blazers once again loaded the bases, this time with one out. A fielder’s choice allowed one run to score, bringing the score to 5-3. However, two more runners were left on base for UAB as the inning ended.
Auburn added another run in the top of the eighth inning to cushion its lead.
LaRue started a two-out rally, reaching on a two-out single before stolen base put the catcher in scoring position. A fielding error by UAB on a Rambusch ground ball allowed LaRue to score, tallying Auburn’s final run of the night and bringing the score to 6-3 heading into the bottom of the eighth inning.
In a final attempt to mount a comeback in the home portion of the ninth, UAB once again hit a solo homer with one away. However, Auburn quickly got two more outs to close the door on the Blazers and return home as winners with a final score of 6-4.
Several Tigers had a very productive game at the plate. DiChiara went 2-for-5, collecting a double and a single as well as two RBIs.
Pairing up with DiChiara as the only other Tiger with a multi-hit night was LaRue. He went 2-for-4 and knocked in one run with two singles as well as a stolen base to help lead Auburn to victory.
“These guys have played a lot of games on the road the past few weeks,” Thompson said. “We’re excited to come back to Plainsman Park and hopefully play great in front of a home crowd.”
In this close game, a pair of fielding errors and 11 runners left on base by the Blazers set them up for the loss.
Meanwhile, Auburn capitalized with runners in scoring position to take the mid-week game in preparation for the home series against No. 16 Vanderbilt.
Two freshmen pitchers in Armstrong and Allsup received valuable experience that will come in handy if they should be called on to pitch this weekend.
“Chase Allsup was one of our top guns tonight to finish that ballgame,” Thompson said. “He was on a rhythm tonight. That’ll be huge for him going forward.”
The first game in the series against Vanderbilt will start at 6 p.m. CST and will be streamed on SEC Network+ from Plainsman Park.
Do you like this story? The Plainsman doesn't accept money from tuition or student fees, and we don't charge a subscription fee. But you can donate to support The Plainsman.