The Alabama State University Hornets spoiled the Auburn Tigers' baseball home-opener at Plainsman Park Wednesday after pulling away in two big innings. The final score was 9-3.
Alabama State (4-1) scored three runs in the sixth inning and tacked on five more in the eighth, erasing any hopes of an Auburn (2-2) comeback after the Tigers had pulled within a run in the seventh.
The Tigers rallied in the seventh inning with two runs, coming on senior catcher Blake Austin's 2-RBI double that scored Damek Tomscha and J.J. Shaffer, who were both hit by a pitch with one out. Austin was the tying run at third with one out, but a pop-up and a groundout ended the Auburn threat.
"These wins are good for our confidence," said Alabama State head coach Mervyl Melendez said of his team which has now won four straight games. "Any win is good, and when you play a tough opponent..."
"Our pitching was up in the zone," Auburn head coach Sunny Golloway said. "They got their leadoff guy (on base) in five innings. We called fastballs away and hit two guys. Clearly we didn't have control of the baseball. We had numerous fly ball outs. If you go back to their big inning, they get a free pass and two ground balls in the six-hole. They played the kind of baseball I would like to see us play. I don't know what we were swinging for, but we hit some high fly balls. And those are easy outs."
ASU's Richard Amion, Emmanuel Marrero, and Brandon Castro each had two hits, and Einar Muniz scored three runs for the Hornets who have beaten South Alabama and Auburn in back-to-back games on the road.
Auburn had just five hits, scattered among five players. Senior catcher Blake Austin led the way, going 1-for-3 with a 2-RBI double in the seventh inning. Freshman Anfernee Grier recorded Auburn's first extra-base hit of the year with a double in the sixth inning and finished 1-for-4 with a run scored. J.J. Shaffer, Damon Haecker and Daniel Robert had the Tigers' remaining three hits.
The Hornets travel to the West Coast for a four-game series at the University of the Pacific beginning Friday at 8 p.m. CT.
The Tigers will try to bounce back this weekend as they play host to the Tiger Classic Friday through Sunday at Plainsman Park. Auburn hosts Arkansas-Pine Bluff at 6 p.m. Friday, California at 6 p.m. Saturday and East Tennessee State at 2 p.m. Sunday.
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