Will Holland
Will Holland (Photo: Adam Sparks/Inside The Auburn Tigers, Scout.com)

 

Homewood, Ala.--Samford hit four home runs and used 11 extra-base hits to blast the Auburn Tigers 12-3 Tuesday night and continue the struggles for Coach Butch Thompson’s team. Auburn left 11 runners on base as they lost for the 10th time in the last 14 games since opening SEC play with two wins over Texas A&M.

With the loss Auburn falls to 23-11 overall as the Tigers get ready to host Mississippi State in a huge three-game series this weekend at Plainsman Park.

On a night when Auburn’s offense couldn’t find a way to get a clutch hit, it was the pitching that never got out of the gate on Tuesday night as Samford pounded the Tigers from start to finish in the win.

“I think it’s less about who you’re playing right now with our club and more about ourselves,” Thompson said. “They swung the bats and that was the most concerning thing for me. We left a small village on the bases. It felt like we were first and second most of the night, but never could drive and get another hit.”

Lasting just one inning, Auburn starter Jack Owen allowed four runs on five hits. It wasn’t any better for senior reliever Calvin Coker who gave up four runs on six hits in just two and one/thirds innings to put the Tigers in a huge early hole.

Elliott Anderson was the only Auburn pitcher not to allow an earned run on the night in his one and two/thirds innings while Andrew Mitchell and Davis Daniel finished it off by allowing three runs in the final three innings.

At the plate Will Holland had three hits and all three Auburn RBI, including a solo home run, while Judd Ward added a pair of hits for the Tigers. The only other hits came from junior Brett Wright and freshman Steven Williams as Auburn had just seven hits for the game.

“Really well,” Thompson said of how Holland swung the bat. “I think Judd Ward is the only other guy with multiple hits. Judd actually got a bunt down and split a gap himself. Will had a couple of nice at-bats and one of his hits was a bunt after the home run. Those two guys were really interested, we’ve just got to get more guys interested.”

Struggling mightily coming into Tuesday night’s game at Samford, Auburn got off to a bad start as the Bulldogs scored a run in the first following a leadoff double. One inning later Owen didn’t record an out as Ayrton Shafer homered to start the inning before a pair of singles and a HBP to load the bases. When Ryan Crockett singled home two more runs it was 4-0 Samford.

Coming on in relief, Coker got the Tigers out of the inning with no more damage, but it was an uphill battle all the way for Auburn.

In the top of the third Auburn’s offense finally came to life as Ward’s bunt single and a walks to Jeremy Johnson and Edouard Julien brought Holland to the plate. Getting a pitch to handle, the shortstop singled through the left side to score two runs and cut the Samford lead in half.

That’s as close as Auburn would get the rest of the night.

Adding a single run on two hits in the bottom of the third to make it a three-run lead once again, Samford scored three more in the fourth with a Crockett home run and a Troy Dixon the big blows for the Bulldogs.

Auburn pulled closer in the top of the fifth when Holland hit a long home run to open the inning, but the Tigers would strand two runners to keep the lead at five for Samford. It continued a stretch of four innings that would end in the seventh where Auburn left a total of 11 runners on base.

Samford would add single runs in the sixth and seventh to make it a 10-3 advantage as Auburn continued to struggle on the mound.

The Bulldogs would tack on two more runs late to make the final 12-3 as the Tigers lost for the sixth time in the last seven games with the only win coming against Alabama A&M.

Auburn returns to action Friday night at 7:30 when the Tigers take on Mississippi State in the first of three games.