By Charles Goldberg
AUBURN, Ala. - Tom Holliday is Auburn's pitching coach. Josh Holliday is Oklahoma State's head coach and "a really good hitting instructor."
Father and son squared off Saturday in Plainsman Park, and the pitching coach got the better of his son. Auburn won its seventhstraight game, beating No. 10 Oklahoma State 9-2 behind breaking-ball pitching of Rocky McCord and Cole Lipscomb.
It was almost like a plan.
"Good hitting instructors hit the fastball," explained Tom Holliday. "We put two pretty good breaking ball pitchers on the mound, so you guys know I was trying to win. I wasn't conceding anything.
"The only person upset now," surmised Holliday, "is my wife."
Auburn improved to 9-2 and will conclude weekend play against Jacksonville State at 2 p.m. Sunday in Plainsman Park. Oklahoma State, which fell to 6-4, will play Western Illinois at 11 a.m.
Auburn, winners of seven straight, has beaten two of college baseball's bigger names this week: Georgia Tech on Tuesday and now Oklahoma State. Saturday, the Tigers did it with a season-high 17 hits.
"It's going to make dinner tastes good, but we've got to back it up by coming out tomorrow and by playing well," said Auburn coach Sunny Golloway. "Down the road, sure, it's going to help your RPI, but you've got to put yourself in a position those RPI games matter. That's what we're going to do in conference."
The Baseball Hollidays, which include major leaguer Matt Holiday, know the game. Tom Holliday and Josh Holliday are now 4-4 against each other in their various coaching stops.
Great moment before the game as AHC Tom Holliday exchanges lineup with his son and OSU HC Josh Holliday pic.twitter.com/OBibo4pWqx
-- Auburn Baseball (@Auburn_Baseball) February 28, 2015
Josh Holliday said Saturday's game wasn't awkward.
"It doesn't bother me, to be honest with you. I was raised to compete," he said. "That household is pretty tenacious in competition. As long as you're out there playing hard and playing fair, whoever wins or loses it's just what you sign out for."
Besides, the younger Holliday said, "they beat us straight up on the field."
"I know one thing about Tom Holliday," Golloway said, "once the game starts, he's very professional. It's about the game."
Auburn trailed 1-0 through three innings before scoring in five consecutive innings.
McCord started and pitched 4.1 innings before leaving with a groin injury. Lipscomb, who was scheduled to start against Alabama A&M on Thursday before it was rained out, came in and allowed one hit and struck out eight in 4.2 innings. He improved to 2-0. Oklahoma State starter Jon Perrin fell to 1-2.
"What a remarkable job Cole did," Golloway said.
Auburn centerfielder Anfernee Grier went 3-for-5 to raise his batting average to .512. J.J. Schaffer came off the bench to go 3-for-3 and drive in two runs. Hunter Tackett hit a 2-run homer. Damon Haecker, Blake Logan and Cody Nulph each drove in a run for Auburn.