March 13, 2018
AUBURN, Ala. – The Yellow Jackets posted a five-run fifth inning, but couldn’t overcome a pair of seven-run deficits in a 12-7 loss on the road at No. 13 Auburn on Tuesday night at Plainsman Park at Hitchcock Field in Auburn, Ala.
The loss drops Tech to 9-7 overall on the season, while the Tigers, who are ranked as high as No. 5 in one national poll, improve to 16-1 on the year with the win.
The two teams combined to throw 12 pitchers, as the two pitching staffs totaled 16 walks, hit seven batters and threw six wild pitchers on the cold spring night in Auburn, Ala.
The loss falls to Hugh Chapman (0-1) as the freshman starter gave up four runs on four hits, two walks and a hit batter in 1.0-plus innings on the night.
The win goes to Auburn’s Elliott Anderson (3-0), as the lefty vultured a win out of the bullpen for the Tigers, allowing just three runs, on two hits, a walk and three strikeouts over 3.1 innings of work.
Redshirt sophomore Tristin English (2-for-5, 2B, 2 RBIs, run) and sophomore Austin Wilhite (1-for-4, BB, 2 RBIs, run) led the Jackets offensively with two RBIs apiece, while Colin Hall (1-for-2, 2 BBs) also drove in a run in the loss. Catcher Joey Bart (1-for-3, HBP, BB, 2 runs) and first baseman Kyle McCann (1-for-2, 3 BBs, 2 runs) each scored two runs apiece for the game.
For Auburn at the plate, five different Tigers had two hits apiece headlined by Edouard Julien (2-for-3, 2B, BB, 2 RBIs, run), Josh Anthony (2-for-4, 2B, 2 RBIs, run) and Jay Estes (2-for-4, 2B, BB, RBI, run). Will Holland (2-for-3, HR, 2 BBs, 2 runs) had a solo home run in the win.
The Tigers jumped out to an early 2-0 lead in the bottom of the first on a walk, a double and a two-run double into the left field corner by Anthony, as the home team used the two-out base hit to get on the scoreboard first.
Tech threatened in the next half inning, as Hall, Austin Wilhite and Luke Waddell drew three-straight walks to load the bases. However, after an Auburn pitching change brought in Anderson, the lefty got a strikeout, a ground ball to third base to get the force play at home and then a chopper to first base to end the inning and keep the Jackets off the scoreboard.
Auburn carried the momentum over to the bottom half of the second, as a lead-off home run by Holland and a wild pitch with a runner on third base later in the inning gave the Tigers two more runs to double their lead at 4-0 after two innings of play.
The Tigers added another run in the third with the help of an infield error, before loading the bases with one out and threatening to blow the game wide open. However, Tech hurler Ben Schniederjans came out of the bullpen to get a 6-4-3 double play to end the frame, limit the damage and keep the Tigers’ lead at 5-0.
After Auburn scored two more runs and were poised to plate more before Robert Winborne came in with the bases loaded and got three big outs in the bottom of the fourth, the Jackets offense finally broke through in the top half of the fifth on three hits, two walks and a hit batsman.
Pinch hitter Michael Guldberg led off the frame with a walk to bring up the top of the order where Bailey doubled off the third base umpire to put runners on second and third with no outs.
Two-hole hitter Chase Murray then hit a hard ground ball to the shortstop to drive in Guldberg from third and put the Jackets on the scoreboard. After Bart was hit by a pitch and McCann drew a walk, English lined an RBI single through the left side to put the Jackets down five at 7-2.
Following a Hall bases loaded RBI walk to score Bart and load the bases once again, Austin Wilhite singled to left center field to plate both McCann and English to cut the Auburn lead to two at 7-5 midway through the fifth.
However, the Tigers answered back with a five-run inning of their own in the bottom of the sixth, highlighted by a two-run double by Steven Williams to pull back out in front by seven at 12-5 with three innings to play.
Refusing to quit, the Yellow Jackets got two runs back in the top of the seventh on an RBI double by English and a wild pitch with McCann on third to trim the Auburn lead to five at 12-7.
Yet that would be all the Jackets could muster over the final three innings, as the Tigers held off the Jackets for the 12-7 non-conference midweek win.
The Jackets are now 2-5 on the season when giving up a big inning – four runs or more – in the contest.
The Yellow Jackets (9-7, 0-3 ACC) return home to host Virginia Tech in ACC play this weekend on Friday (6 p.m.), Saturday (2 p.m.) and Sunday (1 p.m.).