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A spirit that is not afraid

Auburn sneaks by Louisiana Tech in first game since Omaha

On Saturday, the Auburn Tigers took the field at Plainsman Park against Louisiana Tech for the first time since Omaha. The exhibition game consisted of 12 innings filled with new faces from Auburn’s 2022 recruitment class and a 12-11 finish featuring a late comeback by the Tigers.

The Tigers came back in a high scoring rally at the bottom of the tenth. New players including Drew Nelson, Brody Wortham, Alex Wade and returning senior Mason Land scored in the back half of the inning, with freshman outfielder Chris Stanfield hitting an RBI single to tie the score.

Lineups and stats were not posted on the video board since the game was just an exhibition, but fans had more than enough action without the numbers. The start was slow, with Louisiana Tech starting off the lead in the top of the first. The Bulldogs continued momentum at home, with a total of five runs scored on home runs before the seventh inning. 

Freshman Ike Irish hit Auburn's first home run of the day in the bottom of the third, with two hits in four at bats and finishing with three RBIs. Junior Cole Foster went 2-for-4 at the plate with an RBI, and Auburn had a total of 16 hits through the duration of the game. Later on, Wortham hit the game-winning home run over the left side of the outfield, making the score 12-11 and giving the Tigers the go-ahead run.

Auburn pitched a total of eight players in the 12-inning exhibition game. Junior Joseph Gonzalez started for the Tigers and remained on the mound for the first two innings. Other returning pitchers who made an appearance included John Armstrong, Chase Allsup and Tommy Sheehan. 

Allsup and Armstrong are both right-handed sophomores who made regular appearances in the Tiger lineup during their freshman years. Sheehan is a sixth-year graduate student in his second year at Auburn after transferring from Notre Dame.

Several newcomers took the mound, including freshman Zach Crotchfelt early on in the game. Chase Isbell entered in the top of the final inning to close. Last season, Isbell underwent shoulder surgery and returned mid-way through the year, with limited outings in the second half as he recovered. 

Tommy Vail was a bright spot on the mound for the Tigers, striking out three batters in the one inning he pitched. Vail is a sixth-year lefty, transferring to Auburn after a year at TCU and four before that at Notre Dame. 

Returning veterans, including Bobby Peirce and Cole Foster, took the field. Kason Howell, Auburn’s veteran center fielder, did not dress out for the game. 

Despite being just an exhibition during fall practices, Auburn only had one error against Louisiana Tech and can grow on that success in its next game. The Tigers return to action for their second and final exhibition game Oct. 28 at 6:30 p.m. against Alabama. 

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