Auburn, AL -
Righthander Josh Sullivan pitched 6.2 solid inning to lead Auburn to an 8-4 win over #24 Clemson in front of 3,737 fans at Plainsman Park on Saturday afternoon. A day after Clemson (4-4) suffered a demoralizing defeat, Auburn did not leave any doubt in Saturday's game, as Auburn pounded out 17 hits and cruised to victory after taking a 7-0 lead after four innings.
Sullivan (2-1) allowed two runs, seven hits, and one walk while striking out five. Michael Nix pitched the final 1.1 innings without allowing a run to earn his fourth save of the season. Tiger starter Robert Rohrbaugh (0-1) suffered the loss, as he allowed six runs and a career-high 10 hits in 3.0 innings pitched.
Auburn (12-4) jumped out to a 1-0 lead in the first inning thanks to four consecutive singles. Bruce Edwards got it started with a one-out single through the right side and went to second on Clete Thomas' single to left field. Karl Amonite then ripped a Rohrbaugh pitch that was headed to right field, but the ball hit Thomas, as he was ruled out and Amonite reached on the single. Josh Bell then lined a single to right field to bring home Edwards. After loading the bases, Rohrbaugh got out of the jam by getting Jeff Boutwell to foul out.
Auburn manufactured a run in the third inning to take a 2-0 lead. Thomas reached when he was clipped by a Rohrbaugh pitch to lead off the inning. After Amonite flied out, Thomas stole second and scored on Bell's slow-rolling single up the middle. Ben Sprague then bounced a double over the head of third-baseman Herman Demmink, as Bell advanced to third. After Boutwell struck out, Philip Stringer walked to load the bases. But Auburn stranded the bases loaded for the second time when Adam Stacey grounded out to end the inning.
The SEC Tigers' lead grew by five runs in the fourth inning. Tyler Johnstone led off with a "hustle" double to the gap in right-center and went to third on an infield single to shortstop by Edwards. Edwards stole second without a throw and Thomas walked to load the bases. Amonite ripped a hard roller and potential double-play ball right at Tyler Colvin at first base that he was unable to come up with (ruled a single), as Johnstone and Edwards scored after the ball trickled into right field. After Bell popped up for out #1, Sprague lined a three-run homer over the wall in left field for his first home run of the season. Sprague, who earlier doubled, entered the game without an extra-base hit in 29 at-bats in 2005. It was also just the second homer allowed by Clemson pitchers this year.
Clemson finally got on the board in the seventh inning. Colvin led off with a walk, the first by a Clemson hitter in the series, and went to second on Jesse Ferguson's bloop single down the left-field line. It was Ferguson's first hit as a Tiger and it came after he had been robbed by Auburn fielders on two previous at-bats. The two each moved up a base on a wild pitch, and Colvin scored on pinch-hitter Andy D'Alessio's RBI groundout to shortstop. Stan Widmann then lined a two-out single to centerfield to plate Ferguson.
Clemson cut Auburn's lead to three runs in the eighth inning. Taylor Harbin led off with his third hit of the game. Travis Storrer, who was hitless in three previous at-bats, crushed a Jared Shore pitch deep over the fence in right-center for a two-run homer, his first of the season.
Auburn added an insurance run in the bottom of the eighth inning when pinch-hitter Josh Donaldson lined a double just over the glove of Demmink at third base, scoring Bell from second base.
Six Auburn players had at least two hits, including Edwards and Amonite, who had three hits apiece. Among Auburn's 17 hits were five doubles and a homer. The SEC Tigers also stole five bases. Clemson, which totaled 11 hits, was led by two freshmen. Harbin and Widmann both went 3-for-4. Fifth-year senior catcher Gene Pierce also had a hit in two at-bats in his first career start. Clemson played well defensively, going errorless in the field for the second straight game.
The two teams will play the series finale Sunday at 2:00 PM EST at Plainsman Park.