Feb. 3, 2006
AUBURN, Ala. - Chris Dennis threw six solid innings and Tyler Johnstone and Andy Bennett each drove in two runs as the Auburn baseball team opened up the 2006 season with a 7-0 victory over VMI at Plainsman Park on Friday night.
"I thought we had an outstanding defensive effort today," AU Head Coach Tom Slater said. "If you are pitcher, you should have a lot of confidence after watching that game tonight. The ball was on the ground a lot, we turned a lot of double plays and Tyler had a great game tonight at second base. We just did a great job defensively."
Dennis (1-0), who missed last season after undergoing arm surgery at the start of the 2005 campaign, held the VMI hitters in check for most of his outing, surrendering just one hit while striking out three to capture the win in his first action since May 22, 2004.
"I am very proud (of Chris Dennis)," Slater said. "We didn't want to run him back out there for the seventh inning, we wanted him to leave the game feeling good and he gave us plenty in six innings. He filled up the strike zone and let his defense play and that is what we were excited about."
Johnstone (2-for-5, 2 R, 2 RBI) provided the game-winning hit in the bottom of the second when he singled through the left-side of the infield to score Jeff Boutwell (1-for-2, R, RBI) and Derek Sain (1-for-4, R).
The Tigers tacked on another run in the bottom of the third as Boutwell drove in designated hitter Russell Dixon (0-for-2, R) with a double down the leftfield line.
The Tigers closed the scoring with three runs in the bottom of the eighth. Ryan Stanley (0-for-2, RBI) pushed the first run across with a bases-loaded walk before Bennett (3-for-4, 2 RBIs) doubled to left to score Josh Donaldson (1-for-4, R, RBI) and Bruce Edwards (1-for-4, R).
Luke Greinke pitched two perfect innings to close out the game.
J.J. Hollenbeck (0-1) took the loss for the Keydets as he allowed three runs on five hits in 3.0 innings of work.
The season-opening victory marked the 43rd time that Auburn has won its season-opener and makes it eight consecutive and 12 of the last 13 years that the Tigers did so.
Auburn is now 11-0 against VMI all-time.
The Tigers and Keydets will play again on Saturday with first pitch set for 4 p.m. CT. Junior college transfer Peter Wiggins gets the starting nod for the Tigers while Trey Barham earns the start for VMI.