March 10, 2007
AUBURN, Ala. -
Ben Jones went 3-for-5 with a double and a RBI in his first start of the season and Paul Burnside and Brett Butts kept Purdue from touching home plate as the No. 13 Auburn baseball team rolled to an 11-0 victory and series win over Purdue on Saturday afternoon.
All 10 Auburn hitters that stepped to the plate connected for at least one hit and seven of the 10 contributed RBIs to the team tally as Auburn improved to 16-2 on the season, its best record after 18 games since starting the 2004 season with an identical record.
"I was happy with the guys up and down the line-up and they took a real good offensive approach today," AU Head Coach Tom Slater said. "Ben Jones is swinging a hot bat right now. He is working hard and the opportunity presented itself for him to get in the lineup and he responded well."
Auburn scored a run in the first on Mike Bianucci's (2-for-4, 2B, R, 2 RBI) RBI single and added three more in the second as Joseph Sanders (1-for-3, 2 RBI), Eric Skinner (1-for-5, 2B, R, RBI) and Jones all pushed runs across on a groundout, a double and a single, respectively.
Auburn then added a run in the fifth on Sanders' RBI single, a run in the sixth on Bianucci's RBI double and five in the eighth as Josh Donaldson (2-for-4, R, RBI, SB), Andy Bennett (3-for-4, 2B, 2 R, RBI) and pinch hitter Philip Stringer (1-for-1, 2B, 2 RBI) all provided RBI hits in the inning.
Burnside moved to 4-0 on the season as the sophomore allowed no runs on five hits and three walks while striking out four in 5.0 innings.
"Battle was the key word today," Burnside said. "When you don't have your best stuff you find out what kind of pitcher you can be. You just have to try and find the strike zone with anything you got."
Butts was even more effective in picking up his second save of the season, throwing 4.0 innings and allowing just four hits an no walks while striking out three.
Combined, Burnside, Butts and the Auburn defense allowed just one runner to advance past second base as the Tigers picked a runner off first, caught a man stealing second and turned a double-play on the afternoon.
"Paul will probably tell you that he wasn't happy with the walks but he settled in after a while and was solid enough to get us through five," Slater said. "Brett did a nice job of finishing out the game. He just threw strikes with all three pitches."
Purdue (4-4) starter Ricky Heines suffered his first loss of the season to fall to 2-1 on the year, allowing four runs on 10 hits in 4.0 innings.
The two teams will play the final game of the series at 1:30 pm CT on Sunday.
The start was the fifth in Ben Jones' career, all coming as the DH ... The last Auburn starting pitcher to start a season 4-0 was Arnold Hughey in 2004 ... Brett Butts has not allowed a run in his last three relief appearances (9.0 IP) ... The shutout was the second of the season for Auburn.