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March 4, 2022; Auburn, AL, USA; Kason Howell (5) hits the ball during the game between Auburn and Yale at Plainsman Park. Mandatory Credit: Jacob Taylor/AU Athletics

Auburn’s explosive first inning sets tone for win in NCAA Regional opener

Auburn, Ala. (EETV) - Auburn began the NCAA Regionals with 11 runs. Not in the game as a whole, but in the first inning alone. Auburn (37-19) defeated Southeastern Louisiana (30-29), 19-7.

Coming off of a disappointing SEC Tournament run of just one game, a loss, Auburn had something to prove after getting the fourteenth overall seed and the privilege of hosting an NCAA regional. 

“Great night for us." Head coach Butch Thompson said. "But it's just one game and we know we're in a tournament."

The Tigers came out swinging after making quick work of Southeastern Louisiana in the first inning. Blake Rambusch hit a lead-off single down the middle to start the inning. Next up for Auburn was Cole Foster. Foster missed the last seven games for Auburn and came back in a big way. 

Foster hit a 2-run home run over the left-field wall for a nice introduction of more to come in the first inning. Two at-bats later, Bobby Peirce brings in Sonny DiChiara with a 2-run bomb to double Auburn’s lead to four. 

Auburn loaded the bases, scored a run, and loaded the bases again for Cole Foster to walk back up to bat and launch the ball to right field for the grand slam. Foster hit one home run as a righty and one as a lefty to show off his switch-hitting ability. 

To close out the eventful inning, newly-named All-America Second Teamer DiChiara connects to deep right field for a home run and an 11-0 lead. 

Auburn and SLU traded runs through the fourth inning and eventually slowed down thanks to some stronger pitching. 

In his five innings played, Auburn starting pitcher Trace Bright recorded 10 strikeouts and let up six hits and four runs. 

“Career strikeout night [for Bright]." Butch Thompson said about his starter. "He had to earn it and work for it.”

“it's comforting to have 11 runs in the first inning," Bright said about the lead going into the second inning. "But you still have to stay locked in, still got to stay focused.”

Auburn put on a hitting clinic with all nine starters getting on the board with at least one run, and eight of the nine starters recorded a hit during the game. Auburn also put together a season-high 20 hits. Foster led the game with three home runs and nine RBIs on four hits. 

Today's game marks the eighth sold out game for Auburn baseball on the year.

Auburn will take on Florida State (​​34-23) for a chance to advance to the regional final tomorrow at 6 PM CT in Plainsman Park. Since 1997, Auburn is 0-7 against the Seminoles in postseason play.


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