Brendan Venter
Brendan Venter launches one of his two home runs on Tuesday night. (Photo: Adam Sparks/Inside The Auburn Tigers, Scout.com)

 

Auburn, Ala.--Auburn junior Brendan Venter was 4-4 with a pair of two-run home runs and Will Holland and Edouard Julien both added homers in a 10-4 blasting of South Alabama on Tuesday to improve to 35-14 overall as the No. 16 Tigers get ready to take on sixth-ranked Ole Miss beginning Thursday night in Oxford.

Blasting four home runs for the game, Auburn has now hit 13 in the last six games and has double-digit homers in four consecutive games.

In his last six games Venter is 12-21 with four home runs, three doubles and eight RBI for the Tigers and has raised his average 32 points from .285 to .317. Not to be outdone, center fielder Jay Estes is 10 for his last 14 over the last four games to raise his average almost 30 points.

Holland and Brett Wright both added three hits as the Tigers pounded South Alabama for 17 hits to reach double digit runs for the sixth time in the last 11 games.

“That’s a lot of fun,” Venter said of the victory. “Anytime you win a game like that you have a good time as a team. We’re playing well and it’s always fun.

“It’s big because you feel like you’re never out of a game,” he added of the scoring punch for the Tigers. “If you’re down five or six, two big swings and we’re right back in it. I think that part of it kind of frees us up to play loose and play free knowing we could be one or two swings away from putting up a five or six spot.”

Brett Wright and Edouard Julien
Brett Wright and Edourd Julien celebrate Julien's team-leading 13th home run on Tuesday night. (Photo: Adam Sparks/Inside The Auburn Tigers, Scout.com)

 

On the mound freshman Jack Owen allowed three runs on three hits in four innings before turning things over to Welby Malczewski. Pitching four scoreless innings before allowing a leadoff double in the ninth, Malczewski allowed a run in the ninth to improve to 4-0 on the season.

“After Jack passed the baton to Welby he throws five innings of one-hit baseball,” Coach Butch Thompson said. “It was nothing magical, he just took his arm-slot and uniqueness and shoved the ball in the strike zone.”

Getting the offense started on the right foot, Holland led off the bottom of the first with a long home run over the monster in left field to put the Tigers on the board. Brett Wright would later double, but was stranded to end the inning.

One inning later it was Venter time. Leading off the inning with a single for his ninth hit in his last 12 at-bats, Jay Estes was standing on first when Venter smashed a ball down the left field line that just stayed fair for his first home run of the game.

Pitching three perfect innings to open the game, Owen allowed a bunt single with one out in the fourth and it was the start of an inning to forget for the Tigers.

With Dylan Hardy on second following a passed ball, Brendan Donovan singled to right field to put the Jaguars on the board. When Steven Williams allowed the ball to get under his glove for an error it put a runner on third with just one out. Following a walk, Wells Davis singled to left and an error on Judd Ward allowed both runs to score and tie the game at three.

It didn’t take long for Auburn to respond and once again it came from the bat of Venter.

Swinging at the first pitch he saw and lacing a double down the left field line, Estes once again reached base for Venter and the junior delivered. Getting a 1-2 breaking ball, Venter went down and golfed it over the wall in left-center to put the Tigers back in front 5-3.

“Venter came right back and hit the two-run home run to put us up 5-3,” Thompson said. “I thought that was huge in the ball game. We got two runs in the fourth and fifth to kind of replace those three runs.”

Following a quick 1-2-3 by Malczewski it was time for the long ball to strike again for Auburn in the bottom of the fifth. Following a leadoff walk to Wright, Julien took the first pitch he saw over the wall just to the left of the batter’s eye in center field for his 13th home run of the season and a four-run lead for the Tigers.

Auburn added three more runs in the bottom of the eighth to extend the lead to seven before Ole Miss would tack on a meaningless run in the ninth to make the final 10-4.

Auburn returns to action Thursday night when the Tigers take on Ole Miss in Oxford in the first of three games against the Rebels. Sophomore Davis Daniel (3-3, 5.28 ERA) will get the start for the Tigers.

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