Skip to Content, Navigation, or Footer.
A spirit that is not afraid

Auburn defeats UAB in battle of pitchers

Conner McBride (#38) throws a pitch against UAB in Plainsman Park on February 20th, 2024.
Conner McBride (#38) throws a pitch against UAB in Plainsman Park on February 20th, 2024.

The Auburn Tigers hosted the UAB Blazers for the season’s first midweek matchup, where the Tigers pulled off a 7-2 win with help from six of their pitchers.

“We did enough,” said head coach Butch Thompson. “We played good defense. We talked about how these arms did a nice job. I just thought that the guys are showing maturity. They’re handling moments, making a play when they need to, and they had to do that again tonight.”

Facing 37 total batters, Thompson’s pitching staff collected 11 strikeouts and three walks and allowed only six hits and two runs, keeping the Blazers scoreless in seven of nine frames. 

Hayden Murphy (#22) pitches versus UAB in Plainsman Park on February 20th, 2024.

Comparatively, UAB’s staff kept Auburn’s offense to only three hits and seven runs alongside nine strikeouts. However, 10 walks, two wild pitches and four hit-by-pitches prevented the Blazers' defense from keeping the Tigers off the board. 

“It is hard to score seven runs, three hits unless you get help,” Thompson said. “I think they walked us, they hit batters, so that helps you. So I give the guys some credit for just hanging in there and battling, but they absolutely pitched us to death tonight.”

Thompson introduced the new faces of RHP Conner McBride, LHP Griffin Graves and RHP Dylan Watts to fans and mentioned how impressed he was by their performance. 

“I thought if we were going to have more challenges tonight, it would be from that, but those guys did an amazing job,” Thompson said. 

Thompson also praised Ike Irish’s improvement behind home plate.

Ike Irish (#18) shows the outfield student section some love as he rounds the bases following his home run versus UAB in Plainsman Park on February 20th, 2024.

“I thought Ike Irish had his best game behind the plate catching,” Thompson said. “Those were some real balls that he blocked tonight, and that takes a lot of intent – that was his fourth game in a row, and a ball did not get past him. I thought he’s done expectational.”

Enjoy what you're reading? Get content from The Auburn Plainsman delivered to your inbox

Making his Auburn debut, McBride started on the mound for the Tigers. McBride had four strikeouts and two walks, allowing one run and two hits in 3.2 innings pitched. 

RHP Hayden Murphy relieved McBride in the third, finishing the inning. In his short outing, Murphy had one strikeout and allowed one hit. 

Another new name was announced over the speakers: that of Graves. Graves had two strikeouts and gave up one hit in two innings pitched. 

“The adrenaline was pretty crazy,” Graves said. “I knew I was walking on the field with a great fan base and great people. So I knew that in those pressure moments that I had the best defense behind me, and I was gonna go out there and trust my stuff.”

The freshman earned his first win of the season in his first outing in orange and blue.

“Griffin has absolutely been waiting for that outing for a long time and to see him perform well and attack,” Thompson said. “He really completed and filled up the zone with it, so I’m tickled to death about him." 

RHP Cam Tilly took over for Graves in the seventh, pitching one inning. In his second outing as a Tiger, Tilly recorded one strikeout with no hits or runs. 

LHP Tanner Bauman and Watts wrapped up the game, pitching one inning each, with Bauman securing three strikeouts and Watts allowing one run and two hits. 

“I feel like we have a really deep pitching staff this season,” Graves said. “We have such a good pitching staff this season that I feel like I’m not afraid of anybody that comes out of the pen or starts the game cause, you know, if they don’t do the job, then I’m gonna go out there and finish, or the next guy is gonna finish it.”

The Tigers head to Jacksonville, Florida, for the Jax College Baseball Classic this weekend, Feb. 23-25. Auburn will face No. 18 Iowa on Friday, Wichita State on Saturday and No. 10 Virginia on Sunday. The first pitch for the Tigers' game against the Hawkeyes is set for 5 p.m. CST and it will be streamed on

Caitlyn Griffin | Sports Writer

Caitlyn Griffin is a sophomore from Huntsville, Alabama, majoring in journalism. She started with The Plainsman in fall 2022. 

Twitter: @caitlyngrif99

Share and discuss “Auburn defeats UAB in battle of pitchers” on social media.