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Auburn Baseball Stays Perfect After Sweep of BYU
March 3, 2018





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AUBURN, Ala. -- Auburn baseball maintained its unblemished record by taking both games of a doubleheader and completing a sweep of BYU at Plainsman Park Saturday afternoon. The Auburn offensive exploded in a 21-4 victory against the Cougars in game one, and the Tigers kept it going by defeating BYU, 9-5, in game two.

With the two wins Saturday, Auburn improves to 12-0 on the season, marking the third best start in program history. The 12 wins are not only the most in the NCAA this season, but Auburn is also the only remaining undefeated team in the SEC.

"We really played good offense," head coach Butch Thompson said. "We continued to pass it down. We really had some good at-bats."

Offensively, Auburn totaled 30 runs on 32 hits in the doubleheader. Thirteen Tigers recorded hits in game one, including the first collegiate hits for Cade Evans, Brett Olson and Judd Ward, which all came on pinch-hit appearances the seventh inning. Brendan Venter and Steven Williams each went 6-for-9 from the plate and drove in three and four runs, respectively. Additionally, Jeremy Johnson matched a career high with three hits in the first game, and Luke Jarvis equaled that total in the nightcap.

Venter extended his hitting streak to nine games and has recorded two or more hits in eight of those contests. Conor Davis and Will Holland also reached base in both games, extended their on-base streaks that began on Opening Day.

GAME ONE

BYU started the day with a three-run first inning behind a Brock Hale home run, but the Tigers answered right back with seven runs in the bottom of the frame. The inning included five doubles, four of which occurred consecutively off the bats of Johnson, Jay Estes, Holland and Jarvis. The five doubles in the inning were a season-high alone, and Auburn ended the game with eight two-baggers, a feat last achieved vs. Arkansas on April 23, 2017.

Auburn stayed hot in the second inning with six more runs, two of which came on a RBI single up the middle from Williams, and the Tigers ultimately sent 25 batters to the plate in the first two frames.

After BYU made it a 16-4 ballgame with a run on a RBI double from Jake Brown in the top of the sixth, Auburn put an exclamation point on the game with a five-run seventh. After Ward and Evans turned in their first collegiate hits to load the bases, Edward Julien provided the big blow with a pinch-hit grand slam. The grand slam was not only the first since Dylan Ingram at Mississippi State on April 29, 2017, but was also Julien's second home run in as many games. Later in the inning, Olson made a pinch-hit appearance and ripped a double into the left-center-field gap for the first hit of his Auburn career.

Eighteen of the Tigers' 21 runs came in the first, second and seventh innings, marking the 12th time Auburn had scored four or more runs in a frame this season.

Right-hander Davis Daniel (2-0, 5.68) earned the win after tossing a season-high 6.0 innings and striking out five. Freshman southpaw Jack Owen pitched the final 3.0 innings in scoreless fashion and earned his first career save.

Out of the opposite dugout, BYU starter Hayden Rogers (2-1, 4.05) was allowed seven runs (one earned) on six hits and lasted only an inning in the loss.

GAME TWO

Pitching was the story in the early portion of the second half of Saturday's doubleheader as starters Tanner Burns and Kenny Saenz cruised through their first 2.0 innings.

However, the Tigers found their rhythm after the slow start, scoring three runs in the bottom of the third and five runs in the next inning. Venter and Davis got the Auburn offense going with RBI singles to right field in the third, while Luke Jarvis followed with a two-RBI triple to left-center an inning later.

BYU made things interesting with a three-run sixth inning behind a pair of RBI doubles from Hale and Brian Hsu. After a balk, hit-by-pitch and walk loaded the bases, freshman Cody Greenhill entered the game and struck out three-hole hitter Keaton Kringlen on three pitches to escape the jam.

Greenhill ended up recording the final 10 outs of the game -- four via strikeouts -- and earned his second save of the week. Burns (2-0, 1.06) earned the win after allowing one run on four hits with four strikeouts in 5.0 innings of work.

Opposite the Auburn staff, Saenz (0-2, 10.88) ultimately lasted only 2.2 innings and suffered the loss.

Auburn is back in action with an in-state midweek matchup against UAB Tuesday night. First pitch between the Tigers and Blazers at Regions Park in Birmingham, Ala., is scheduled for 6:30 p.m. CT.

 

 

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