AUBURN, Ala. (EETV) -- The Auburn Tigers lost to the Troy Trojans 8-7 on a beautiful Tuesday night at Plainsman Park.
Auburn RHP Hayden Murphy got the start on the bump and did not get off to a hot start. After getting the leadoff man to fly out to right, Murphy allowed the next two batters to reach on a walk and HBP. Caleb Bartolero drove in the first RBI of the night with a single to right.
Murphy was able to limit the bleeding and hold Troy to just one run in the top of the first. He struck out Ethan Kavanagh, looking to strand the bases loaded.
The Tigers responded in the bottom of the first with six runs of their own. Bobby Pierce, Cooper McMurray, Kason Howell, Justin Kirby, and Caden Green all had RBIs as Auburn took a 6-1 lead.
In the top of the second inning, Kole Meyers and Shane Lewis launched a pair of home runs for Troy over the right-field wall, cutting their deficit to 5-6.
RHP Parker Carlson came on in relief for the Tigers to start the third inning, and he was able to give coach Butch Thompson much-needed length from his bullpen. While only allowing one hit, Carlson struggled to find the zone and walked three Troy batters.
In the top of the sixth inning, LHP Drew Nelson came on with one out and two runners on base. After getting the first batter he
faced out, Nelson allowed a trio of runs to come across, giving the Trojans an 8-6 lead.
Relief pitching has been a struggle for Auburn, and the sixth inning was a microcosm of that. The Trojans scored three runs on three walks, a balk, and just one hit.
Auburn threatened in the bottom of the sixth with runners on the corners with two outs, but Bryson Ware struck out swinging to end the inning.
The Tigers got one run back in the bottom of the seventh inning on a Justin Kirby sac fly to right, scoring Kason Howell. Kirby’s RBI cut Troy’s lead in half, down to just one run.
In the top of the eighth inning, Bobby Pierce made a spectacular throw from left field to nail the runner at the plate in one of the best defensive plays of the season for Auburn. Pierce grounded a single through the infield in the bottom half of the inning for his fourth hit of the ball game, on top of his two outfield assists.
“He [Bobby Pierce] had amazing at-bats all night,” said coach Thompson. “He's locked in, and man, I hope he can stay that way for another month and finish the season like that.”
Auburn loaded the bases in the bottom of the eighth, but failed to cash in. Cooper McMurray flew out to left field to end the inning and strand the bases loaded. These would be the eighth, ninth, and tenth runners left on base by the Tigers.
The Tigers will be in action this weekend in Columbia, South Carolina, taking on the No. 3 Gamecocks. The first pitch will be Saturday at 6 p.m.