Auburn Rides The Arm Of Nelson And The Bat Of Fletcher To 17-4 Win Over Florida Atlantic
Feb. 28, 2010
AUBURN, Ala. - Riding the arm of Cole Nelson and the hot bat of Brian Fletcher, Auburn cruised to a 17-4 win over Florida Atlantic in the final game of the Auburn Classic on Sunday afternoon. Nelson struck out 12 hitters in six innings of work while walking just one and Fletcher upped his season RBI total to 17 with a four-RBI afternoon as Auburn finished the weekend 2-1.
"We established ourselves early in the game, scoring seven runs in the first two innings," Auburn Head Coach John Pawlowski said. "With the performance that Cole had today, he was dominant. He had 16 out of 24 first-pitch strikes and he was around the zone all day long. When you score runs and you can pitch like that, it makes things easier."
Nelson (2-0) surrendered a leadoff hit in each of the first two innings before settling in for one of the more dominating pitching performances in recent Auburn history. With two on and one out in the second, Nelson began sitting batters down at a torrid pace, striking out 10 of the next 11 hitters he faced, which included striking out the side in both the fourth and fifth innings, a feat that hadn't been accomplished by an Auburn pitcher since midway through the 2008 season.
"The slider was working really well and it was pretty much my go-to pitch today. I was throwing it exactly where I wanted to and people were swinging over the top of it," Nelson said. "Once I got that first pitch I felt like I could go 0-2 and then strike them out. Right away I felt like I could get ahead and jump on them."
Not since a March 2003 contest at Samford had an Auburn pitching staff struck out as many as 15 in a nine-inning game and on Sunday Bradley Hendrix and Garrett Bush chipped in three and one, respectively, to give the staff 16 on the afternoon.
Fletcher, who has collected at least one hit in all six games this year and is on an 11-game hitting streak dating back to last season, continued his sparkling start to the season, finishing with a single, a home run, two walks and three runs scored to go with his third straight and fifth multi-RBI game of the season. His second-inning two-run home run was the 31st of his career, moving into sole possession of ninth place on the Auburn home run list, two behind all-American Casey Dunn (33 from 1996-99).
Not to be overshadowed was the bat of Justin Hargett, which produced two doubles for the third straight game, giving him eight on the year just six games into the season.
Auburn (4-2) jumped out to a 3-0 lead off of Florida Atlantic (3-3) starter Kevin Alexander (1-1) in the first inning and battered the freshman hurler for 10 runs (six earned) on 11 hits and one walk before knocking him out of the game after 3 1/3 innings. The Auburn attack didn't stop there as it picked up seven more runs over the next four innings, finishing the game with 17 runs on 15 hits and eight walks.
Creede Simpson was 3-for-4 with a walk, scoring four runs.
Boston College claimed a 14-6 win over Missouri in the first game on Sunday, picking up its first win of the weekend. Auburn and Missouri each went 2-1 on the weekend while Boston College and Florida Atlantic were both 1-2.
Auburn returns to the field on Tuesday when it faces Davidson in the first game of a two-game series. First pitch is set for 6:30pm on Tuesday while Wednesday's game has been moved up to a 3pm start.
Auburn 17, Florida Atlantic 4 (Feb 28, 2010 at Auburn, AL)
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