Feb. 17, 2007
AUBURN, Ala. -
The Auburn pitching staff was nearly flawless, led by starter Paul Burnside, and the offense put up four two-out runs as the Auburn baseball team clinched the series against UNC Greensboro with a 4-2 victory on Saturday afternoon at Plainsman Park.
"Paul Burnside was outstanding in the start and Chris Dennis came in behind him and really shoved for two innings," Auburn Head Coach Tom Slater said. "UNC Greensboro pitched well today but we got some bunts down and some timely hits and that's the name of the game."
Burnside, a sophomore starting just the third game of his career, surrendered four hits in a career-long 6.0 innings to pick up his second win of the season. The righty from Montgomery, who retired the first two hitters in every inning, struck out a career-high five Spartan hitters as Auburn improved to 5-1.
"It felt good to get out there and throw strikes and let our defense go to work for us," Burnside said. "You definitely feel good when you leave in the sixth inning and you have a guy like (Chris) Dennis behind you. He proved that he is one of our best arms."
Auburn got to UNC Greensboro starter Ryan Falcon in the bottom of the fifth as freshman catcher Dustin Spruill (2-for-4, 2B, 2R) led off with a single to right and was sacrificed over by freshman Eric Skinner (1-for-3, 2B, RBI). Junior Josh Donaldson (1-for-2, R, RBI) singled home Spruill with two down, prompting a UNCG pitching change. After the change, sophomore Mike Bianucci (2-for-3, 2 RBI) singled home sophomore Luke Greinke (0-for-2, BB, R) and Donaldson to make it 3-0 after five.
Auburn put an insurance run on the board in the eighth with back-to-back two-out doubles by Spruill and Skinner.
Dennis followed Burnside on the hill and allowed an unearned run in 2.0 innings, striking out the final four hitters he faced.
"Chris pitched through some adversity. We made an error behind him and then give up a squib hit, but he came out of it and did a nice job. He came out in the eighth and just threw it right by them," Slater said.
Greinke picked up his first save of the season.
UNC Greensboro's (0-2) Falcon was tagged with the loss, allowing three runs on three hits and three walks in 4.2 innings.
The two teams will play the final game of the series beginning at 1:30 pm CT on Sunday.
The save was the seventh in Greinke's career ... Auburn's bullpen has surrendered just five walks in six games and has struck out 30 ... Auburn's starters have not allowed an earned run on the weekend ... Auburn's 5-1 start is its best since 2004 ... Freshman Robert Brooks extended his hitting streak to six games with a double in the sixth.