#29 Tiger Offense Comes To Life In 11-3 Win Over Troy

AUBURNTIGERSDOTCOM Taylor Thompson
AUBURNTIGERSDOTCOM
Taylor Thompson
AUBURNTIGERSDOTCOM

Feb. 20, 2007

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AUBURN, Ala. -

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Auburn jumped on top of Troy with five runs in the bottom of the first inning and the Auburn pitching staff fanned a season-high 12 as 29th-ranked Auburn defeated Troy, 11-3, on Tuesday afternoon. The win moved the Tigers to 7-1 on the season.

"We hit a lot of line drives tonight," Auburn Head Coach Tom Slater said. "We had a great round of batting practice in pre-game and the guys just carried that over into the game. We didn't let up. We continued to apply pressure throughout the game."

Auburn sent nine men to the plate in the bottom of the first, scoring five runs on four hits, two walks and a perfectly executed safety squeeze by freshman Eric Skinner (1-for-3, R, RBI). Senior Bruce Edwards (0-for-2, 2 BB, 2 R, SB) and sophomore Luke Greinke (1-for-2, BB, 2 R) each walked to start the inning and were followed by consecutive singles by junior Josh Donaldson (2-for-5, 2B, 2 R, 2 RBI) and sophomore Mike Bianucci (2-for-3, HR, 2 R, RBI). Freshman Robert Brooks (2-for-3, 2B, R, 2 RBI) roped a one-out double to right-center and freshman Ross Smith (2-for-4, 3B, 2 R) preceded Skinner's sac bunt with an RBI single to right, giving Auburn all the runs it would need on the night.

"I was trying to go opposite field," Brooks said of his first-inning double. "The right fielder and center fielder had a big gap waiting for me and I was fortunate enough to get the ball in there."

Freshman Taylor Thompson earned his first career victory for the Tigers, lasting 4.0 innings and allowing just two runs on four hits and three walks while matching his strikeout total from last week at four in what was a designated split start for the Montgomery native.

"Taylor was outstanding in the start. Taylor set the tone for us tonight in the first, throwing the ball the way he did," Slater said.

Auburn's bullpen was again strong for the Tigers as the trio of junior Brett Butts, senior Chris Dennis and senior Johnny Thompson allowed just one run on four hits with eight strikeouts.

Auburn finished the night with 11 hits and eight walks.

Bianucci hit his third home run of the season when he launched a shot over the batters' eye in center to lead off the third.

Troy starter Ryan Ellison (0-1) took the loss for the Trojans, who fell to 5-3 on the season.

Auburn will play on the road for the first time in the 2007 season this weekend as it travels to Mobile for the Coca-Cola Classic hosted by South Alabama. Auburn will face Jacksonville at 2:30 pm CT on Friday, Michigan State at 4:30 pm Saturday and close out the weekend against the host team at 2:30 pm on Sunday.

GAME NOTES
So. OF Mike Bianucci and Fr. IF Eric Skinner both extended their team-best hitting streaks to four ... Bianucci's third-inning home run was the 11th of his career ... Sr. RHP Johnny Thompson has not allowed an earned run in his last seven outings (10.1 IP) ... Brooks' two-hit game was the fifth multi-hit game this season ... Auburn's 7-1 record is its best start since 2004 ... Auburn is now 33-13 all-time against Troy and are 23-6 against the Trojans in Auburn.