Feb. 28, 2014
Connor Short had two hits off the bench in Auburn's loss to Presbyterian on Friday (Zach Bland photo)
By Phillip Marshall
AUBURN, Ala. - Auburn's baseball team found some energy Friday night at Plainsman Park, but it came too late. Presbyterian College, after taking a 10-1 lead, won the first game of a three-game series 10-6 at Plainsman Park.
The Tigers scored five times in the bottom of the ninth inning and brought the tying run to the plate with the bases loaded. Damon Haecker flied out to left to end it.
After coming into the season with soaring expectations, after talk of going 17-0 and playing in the College World Series, the Tigers are 4-5 with losses to Alabama State, Ohio State, East Tennessee State, California and Presbyterian.
First-year Auburn coach Sunny Golloway didn't see a lot to like, but he liked his team's willingness to fight until it was over.
"I think their fight was really good in the dugout," Golloway said. "It's hard for a team down 10-1, embarrassed at home, to show that kind of fight. I'm pleased see that kind of character. They are truly disappointed, and they should be. Again, I've got to keep stressing until you do the fundamentals right, effort can be great. Fundamentally we have to be better."
Friday's game got away in a hurry.
The Blue Hose (5-3-1) scored two runs in the first when shortstop Dan Glevenyak booted a two-out grounder and were off and running. They got four more in the third, one in the fifth and three in the eighth.
The Tigers scored a run in the bottom of the first. After that, their bats went cold against left-hander Beau Dees until the issue was no longer in doubt. Though they had 14 hits, they left 13 on base.
Auburn starter Dillon Ortman, who won his first two games and entered Friday's game with an 0.69 ERA, struggled from the start. He gave up seven runs, four of them earned, on 11 hits in 4 2/3 innings. Reid Carter gave up three runs on six hits in 3 1/3 innings. Jay Wade pitched a hitless ninth.
"I think Dillon had pretty good stuff, but he didn't command his fastball location," Golloway said. "It was running back over the middle of the plate. It's where your ball finishes in the zone. It's not where you are throwing it. They are a team that is pull happy. Their 3 and 4 hitters just crushed the ball."
Three Blue Hose hitters did most of the damage.
Jacob Midkiff, batting No. 7, was 5-for-5, Cam McRae, batting No. 4, was 4-for-4 and Brad Zebedis, batting No. 3, was 3-for-5.
Golloway replaced senior third baseman Damek Tomscha after Tomscha took a called third strike, moving Blake Austin from catcher to third base and inserting Blake Logan at catcher. When Austin took a called third strike, Golloway replaced him with Connor Short.
"When you are behind 6-1 and 7-1, a called third strike is not going to work," Golloway said. "Not for us. Not for the things we do. If you are going to fight, fight. Swing the bat. You give yourself no chance when you take a called their strike. We are just trying to change some bad habits and create some good ones."
The Tigers and Blue Hose play the second game of the weekend series today at 3 p.m. Thompson is scheduled to get the start on the mound.
Phillip Marshall is a Senior Writer for AuburnTigers.com. Follow Marshall on Twitter: