AUBURN, Ala. (EETV)- No. 15 Auburn struck 17 batters in their convincing 10-1 win over Alabama A&M Tuesday night. This was the most strikeouts an Auburn team has had since striking out 21 batters against Charleston Southern in 2009.
Auburn now improves to 3-1 on the year and coach Butch Thompson spoke highly of freshman left-hander Carson Skipper (1-0, 0.00) saying, "the highlights for me were Carson Skipper shoving the ball in the strike zone. He had eight strikeouts and no walks and got to 55 pitches before he got to 16 balls. I just think that's what the doctor ordered."
Indeed it was what the doctor ordered. This was Skipper's first collegiate start and he made the most of it. In 4.0 innings pitched, he struck out eight batters with zero walks and struck-out five consecutive players in the second and third innings.
Skipper's confidence could not be any higher after his first two collegiate outings saying, "to come out and be to pitch like I have. I know I'm not going to always strike a lot of guys out, but going out there and getting outs and helping my team do what we need to do is big for me."
Alabama A&M was first to get on the scoreboard, however, Auburn's relief pitchers did their duties as Elliot Anderson, Will Morrison and Blake Schilleci combined for 5.0 scoreless innings with nine strikeouts and allowing two hits. The pitching was outstanding from the Tigers and the offensive performance was not too far behind.
After A&M scored their first and only run, Auburn responded fast as Rankin Woley drove in a run to tie the game 1-1 after the first inning.
“Last week I kind of got a little carried away with spinning off some ball and I wasn’t staying within myself and my game,” Woley said. “A lot of my game is up the middle and opposite field. As Coach Gross always says, ‘think small and let the big things happen.’ Tonight, that was my plan with the wind blowing so hard that I wanted to stay on the right side of the field the whole night.”
A four-run third inning put the Tigers up 5-1. Steven Williams drove in one with a RBI double, Woley drove in one on a sacrifice fly and Ryan Bliss and Everett Lau each had a pair of RBIs in the inning to permanently put the Tigers on top. The action would not stop there as Chase Hall fueled a three-run fifth inning with a RBI double to deep center field. Bliss drove in a run on a RBI single and Will Holland drew a bases-loaded walk to draw in another run.
There were four new faces in the Auburn lineup Tuesday night including Brody Moore, Ed Johnson, Jarret Eaton and Devin Warner. Moore's first collegiate at-bat resulted in a triple after booting one to right field. Brett Olson and Blake Schilleci both made their season debuts for the Tigers against Alabama A&M.
Eight Tigers recorded a hit in the game with Woley finishing 3-3 with a run, two RBI and was a home run away from the cycle.
Many players got the opportunity to play in this game which was not the case against Georgia Southern in the season series opener saying, "“We were able to get a bunch of guys in the ballgame... We weren’t able to do that in a three-game series against Georgia Southern, so I thought that was tremendous to get a lot of guys that we want to get their first experience.”
Auburn and Alabama A&M will conclude the two-game midweek series tomorrow at 2 p.m. CT at Plainsman Park. Fans can use their tickets to the originally scheduled 4 p.m. game to enter the stadium.