COLLEGE STATION, Texas – Auburn’s offense exploded for 10 runs on 14 hits on Saturday en route to a 10-5 series-clinching win at No. 18 Texas A&M. With the win Auburn improved to 19-12, 3-8 SEC and won its first SEC series of the season while Texas A&M fell to 19-13, 5-6 SEC.
“It’s good to win this game today, obviously for a lot of reasons; the main reason is the confidence continues to build. There is a little change in the air, so-to-speak, going on around our ball club right now,” Auburn Head Coach John Pawlowski said. “What we did offensively was a tremendous sign. We got some balls up in the wind and we hit some balls hard too.”
Leading 1-0 heading to the third, Auburn busted the game open with a five-run third, which included back-to-back solo home runs from Cullen Wacker and Garrett Cooper to start the inning and a two-run shot by Blake Austin moments later that made it 5-0.
“I was just trying to get the timing down. He (Texas A&M pitcher Grayson Long) got me on a change-up the first at-bat. It was a 3-2 count there and they had beaten me with fastballs last night and I was just able to catch up to one and put a good swing on it,” Wacker said. “Hitting is contagious and we swung the bats well today. We had balls that had eyes and balls that hadn’t been finding holes came through yesterday and today.”
Auburn extended the lead to 9-0 in the fourth, taking advantage of a Texas A&M error to do so. Wacker and Cooper had back-to-back singles and then moved up on a Damek Tomscha sacrifice. Jackson Burgreen then reached on an error, bringing Wacker in and Cooper to third, before Austin drove in Cooper with a sac fly. Dan Glevenyak then followed with a RBI single to plate Burgreen.
Given the early lead, Auburn starter Michael O’Neal (6-2) cruised through six innings to get the win. He allowed three runs (two earned) on six hits and a walk while striking out one and hitting two in six-plus innings. The six wins are the most by an Auburn pitcher since Derek Varnadore finished the 2011 season 6-3.
Wacker and Cooper each finished the day with three hits while Austin finished with three RBI. Ryan Tella was 2-for-4 with a pair of runs scored from the leadoff spot and Burgreen was 2-for-4 with two runs scored from the six-hole.
Trey Cochran-Gill earned his second save of the season, tossing the final two innings and allowing two runs, both in the ninth, on five hits while striking out two.
Long (3-1) took the loss, allowing four runs on five hits in 2 1/3 innings.
The three-homer game was Auburn’s first in exactly a year as it homered three times in a 10-6 loss at Alabama on April 6, 2011 while the three-homer inning was Auburn’s first since it hit four in a six-run fifth-inning in a 16-14 come-from-behind win over Mississippi State on May 8, 2010.
The last time Auburn hit back-to-back home runs was April 27, 2011, when Justin Fradejas and Dan Gamache did it against Texas Southern in the second inning. The last time it happened in a SEC game was May 15, 2010, when Trent Mummey and Brian Fletcher did it in the third inning against Tennessee.
After securing the series win, Auburn will attempt to get its first SEC sweep since April 27-29, 2012 against Tennessee and the first on the road in conference play since May 20-22, 2010 at Ole Miss. Auburn will start left-hander Will Kendall (0-2) while Texas A&M will start right-hander Rafael Pineda (2-2). First pitch is set for 1pm.
Auburn 10, Texas A&M 5 (Apr 06, 2013 at College Station, TX)
Auburn………….. 105 300 100 0 – 10 14 1 (19-12, 3-8 SEC)
Texas A&M……….. 000 200 102 X – 5 11 2 (19-13, 5-6 SEC)
Win-Michael O’Neal(6-2) Save-Trey Cochran-Gill(2) Loss-Grayson Long(3-1) T-2:45 A-5472
(Courtesy: Auburn Athletics)