AUBURN, Ala. (EETV) -- After inclement weather in the Los Angeles area, Auburn’s series with the University of Southern California was moved from the golden state to Plainsman Park, where the Tigers beat the Trojans 5-3.
“I hate it for our guys not being able to make that trip (to Los Angeles), but I tip my hat to a lot of people in the administration, our travel people, Southern Cal’s administrators… It’s tough to pick up a college baseball team and travel across the country, so I tip my hat to both administrations,” said Auburn head coach, Butch Thompson, on Thursday.
Auburn baseball fans are in for a treat this weekend with good weather forecasts for both Saturday and Sunday's games. Friday’s game got off to a slow start, but things heated up in the top of the third inning.
The Trojans loaded the bases with no one out and it looked like the making of a big inning. But Chase Allsup, Auburn's starter, shut the door. He retired the next three USC batters without allowing a run.
USC was able to break through in the top of the fourth inning, though. Cole Gabrielson laced a double down the third base line and later scored on a deep sac fly to center by Connor Aoki. This was the end of Allsup’s evening, finishing with a stat line of 3.2 IP, 2 SO, 5 H, and 1 ER.
Auburn responded by putting up a four-spot in the bottom half of the fourth inning. Justin Kirby and Ike Irish reached to start the inning after a hit-by-pitch and a walk. After a Bryson Ware sac bunt to advance the runners, Cole Foster laced a double to center, scoring both runners.
Irish is making the game look way too easy, having another great game at the plate, going 2-3 with a pair of singles and a walk. In Auburn’s four games, he has a .563 AVG, 3 doubles, and a .611 OBP. He is becoming impossible to take out of the lineup because of his red-hot bat.
Later in the inning, Auburn loaded the bases and flipped their lineup. The Tiger’s leadoff hitter, Bobby Pierce, brought in another two RBIs on a single to left.
Pierce has had a hot bat to start 2023. He has a .364 AVG and 8 RBIs.
Auburn brought in lefty, Tanner Bauman, to start the fifth inning, and he started the inning poorly. Bauman walked the first two batters but limited the damage. He allowed only one run to score, and it came off of another Aoki sac fly to deep center.
In the bottom of the sixth, Nate LaRue finally broke through with his first base hit of the season. He stole second base, showing that even catchers can swipe a bag when least expected.
In the seventh inning, Justin Kirby rocked his third home run of the season over the left-field green monster. All of Kirby’s hits so far this season have left the ballpark. He has also done a good job of being disciplined at the plate, as shown by his seven walks and .500 OBP.
For the Trojans, Austin Overn would drive in their final run in the bottom of the eighth inning. He drilled a triple over the head of Kirby in right that scored Cole Gabrielson from first.
Auburn brought the right-hander, Will Cannon, in with two out in the eighth. He was able to get the four-out save for the Tigers, locking up a 5-3 win.
The Tigers will start Joseph Gonzalez in game two, as they will try to win the series on Saturday. He will take the mound at 2 pm and look to continue a solid start to the season.