March 2, 2014
By Phillip Marshall
AUBURN, Ala. - Auburn's baseball's graybeards took over Sunday at Plainsman park and led the Tigers to a 12-5 romp past Presbyterian to win the weekend series two games to one.
Senior Damek Tomscha hit Auburn's first home run of the season, a three-run shot that bounced off the top of the left field wall in the first inning. He finished 3-for-4 and drove in four runs. Senior Ryan Tella was 3-for-3, drove in two runs and scored two.
And then there was senior pitcher Jay Wade.
Wade, who had pitched only 1 1/3 innings in the first 10 games, came on with two outs in the fourth inning and shut down the visiting Blue Hose, giving up no runs and two hits in 4 1/3 innings. He struck out two and didn't walk a batter. He got the second win of his Auburn career.
Wade welcome the opportunity to pitch in a crucial situation in a game that Auburn needed to win.
"I felt really good," Wade said. "It felt really good to be back out there."
Auburn coach Sonny Golloway saluted Wade for being ready when called.
"I think Jay is kind of the unsung hero of our pitching staff," Golloway said. "He's a grinder, and when we call on him to do it he'll do it for us. I was happy to see him get the win today. He was very deserving of it, the way he came out of the bullpen and stepped up and pitched."
Junior Trey Cochran-Gill pitched a scoreless ninth inning, giving up one hit.
Auburn outscored Presbyterian 15-5 over the last two games and improved to 6-5 going into Tuesday night's Capital City Classic against Alabama at Riverwalk Stadium in Montgomery.
Sophomore Trey Wingenter got his first start for Auburn and didn't last the first inning, giving up a run on three hits. Senior left-hander Michael O'Neal, making the first relief appearance of his Auburn career, got the last out of the first with the bases loaded, but gave up four runs on seven hits in three innings of work.
Auburn scored in each of the first seven innings. When Presbyterian tied it in the fourth, the Tigers responded with two runs in each of the next three innings to take full control. They finished with 14 hits.
It all started with Tomscha's home run.
"I tried to be a little bit more aggressive," Tomscha said. "I got a few pitches I could handle and swung pretty well. I was just trying to get a good swing it. That's what happens.
"It's always fun when you can start hitting the ball pretty well. You could tell the energy was there today."
Golloway felt the energy, too, as the Tigers completed their rebound from a sobering 10-6 loss on Friday night. The Tigers got big hits, including three for extra bases. They stole a season-high six bases. They had a sacrifice fly and two sacrifice bunts.
"I think we understand from the pain of losing we have to play our style," Golloway said. "Today was very much our style."
Golloway said he saw major progress after Friday night.
"I see a baseball team that is getting better," Golloway said. "We have a long way to go, though."
Phillip Marshall is a Senior Writer for AuburnTigers.com. Follow Marshall on Twitter: