AUBURN, Ala. – Auburn stole eight bases and Garrett Cooper delivered a big three-run double in the third as the Tigers completed a two-game series sweep of Alcorn State with a 7-1 win at Plainsman Park on Wednesday afternoon. The victory upped Auburn's record to 3-2 on the year as it prepares to play on the road for the first time this season this weekend at No. 8 Arizona.
"The top three guys (Bobby Andrews, Jay Gonzalez and Ryan Tella) in our order were on base 10 times today and you get those three guys on base with that type of speed and steal some bases, you create some opportunities," Auburn Head Coach John Pawlowski said.
The SEC team leader with 12 stolen bases coming in, Auburn ran on the Alcorn State battery from the get-go, stealing a base in the first, two in the third and one in the fifth off of starting pitcher Mike Peters (0-1), who allowed four runs on five hits and four walks in five innings to take the loss. The stolen bases helped Auburn jump out to a 4-0 lead after three, with Andrews (1-for-2, BB, 3 RBI) stealing a base each of the first two times he reached base.
Gonzalez (2-for-3, 2 BB, 2 R, RBI) also had two steals on the night, stealing second in the third and the eighth and coming around to score both times.
Auburn's running was not limited to the top three in the order as Creede Simpson, who went 1-for-4 with a double from the five-hole to extend his hitting streak to nine games dating to last season, also had two steals, taking second in the fifth and third in the seventh.
"This is a whole different ballgame," Simpson said. "We have to do different things to put pressure on teams and what we call 'Speedball' is our game this year with the bunting and stolen bases. It is a more up-tempo game."
Auburn was held to just eight hits in the game but drew five walks and was hit by a pitch seven times.
"The guys know that for us to be successful and for our offense to work we are going to have to do the short game. We are going to have to steal bases. The biggest thing is putting pressure on the other team," Pawlowski said.
Jay Wade (1-0) picked up the win out of the bullpen, allowing three hits while throwing 2 2/3 innings of scoreless ball behind starter Rocky McCord. McCord had allowed one run on five hits and two walks in 4 1/3 innings in his first career appearance.
Up 1-0 after Simpson drove in Andrews with a sacrifice fly in the first, Auburn extended the lead to four, 4-0, in the third when Cooper lined a double down the left field line with Andrews, Gonzalez and Tella (0-for-2, BB, R) all on base.
Alcorn State (1-3) got a run back in the fourth on an Eduardo Gonzalez (2-for-4) RBI single.
The game stayed that way until the seventh when Dan Glevenyak (0-for-3, RBI) laid down a perfect bunt on a suicide squeeze attempt to score Simpson from home to make it 5-1.
A Gonzalez RBI single and an error by the Alcorn State left fielder on a Cooper single to left in the eighth inning capped the scoring in the game.