Feb. 14, 2014
By Phillip Marshall
PORT CHARLOTTE, Fla. - On the first day of baseball season, two Auburn pitchers combined to pitch a shutout. The Tigers ran, they bunted and they played defense.
It was baseball, Sunny Golloway style.
In the Snowbird Classic at Charlotte Sports Park, senior Dillon Ortman and sophomore Justin Camp combined on an eight-hit shutout, catcher Blake Austin hit a two-run single and freshmen Damon Haecker and Keegan Thompson drove home runs as Auburn beat Indiana State 4-0 in Golloway's first game as head coach.
"Really solid first game," said Golloway, who left Oklahoma for Auburn last June. "I thought we were in control from the get-go."
The Tigers, with five true freshmen in the starting lineup played the way Golloway has said they must play to fulfill his oft-stated goal of making it to Omaha for The College World Series.
A sacrifice bunt by freshman DH Daniel Robert set the stage for Austin to poke a two-run single through the left side in the sixth. After freshman centerfielder J.J. Shaffer beat out an infield single to lead off the seventh, senior Dan Glevenyak advanced him to third with a groundout and Thompson put down a squeeze bunt to drive him home.
Ortman went five innings, giving up five hits and got the win. He struck out three and did not walk a batter. Camp went four innings for the save. He gave up three hits, issued one walk and struck out two.
Auburn scored its first run in the second on an RBI single by freshman Damon Haecker. The inning ended when Austin was thrown out at home.
"I thought we put ourselves in position to put some pressure on them," Golloway said. "We made a baserunning mistake early, but we know that's going to happen early in the season."
Ortman said he felt good from the start on a warm Florida afternoon.
"We had a beautiful day and the defense played great," Ortman said. "I was trying to fill the zone and not give up walks. I really tried to concentrate on pounding the zone and getting easy outs and quick outs."
Auburn made two errors, one when Glevenyak's throw after making a leaping catch hit a baserunning in the back and the other on a wild pickoff attempt by Ortman. But Golloway was delighted with the defense.
"How about the plays that Glevenyak made?" Golloway said. "How about the plays that (third baseman Damek) Tomscha made? How about the plays their shortstop made? There were some really good plays made on that field today."
Freshman had four of Auburn's seven hits. Haecker had two, Shaffer one and right fielder Anfernee Grier one.
And six freshmen got their taste of college baseball.
Shaffer, Thompson, Robert, Haecker and Grier were in the starting lineup. Blake Logan took over for Austin and caught the final inning.
"I thought our guys really played well," Golloway said. "We've seen that. They are in the lineup for a reason. They are very, very talented."
The Tigers play Ohio State Saturday at 11 a.m. CST and close out the tournament Sunday with a 10 a.m. game against UConn.
Phillip Marshall is a Senior Writer for AuburnTigers.com. Follow Marshall on Twitter: