March 12, 2006
AUBURN, Ala. -
Auburn could not capitalize on a solid outing from freshman starting pitcher Evan Crawford as the Tigers were held to just one run on four hits in a 7-1 loss to Birmingham Southern on Sunday afternoon at Plainsman Park.
After a rough first inning in which he allowed three runs on three hits and a walk, Crawford (1-3) settled in nicely for the Tigers, surrendering just two more hits and a walk over the next five innings. He finished the afternoon with a career-high eight strikeouts, the most by an Auburn pitcher this season.
"After the first inning, Evan settled in and was tremendous," AU Head Coach Tom Slater said. "He got us to the seventh inning and had some nice efficient innings in there. He started locating his pitches and I was really proud of Evan. If he can continue to grow and mature he is going to turn into quite a pitcher."
The Tigers (9-10), who stranded 12 runners, could not capitalize on BSC's pitching as the Panther hurlers walked seven AU hitters and hit another two.
"The guy (Martin) has a great arm and we knew that, but we also knew he was going to be a little erratic and up in the zone. We did a nice job of getting base runners on and taking our walks. Sometimes when guys are trying to get that big hit they expand their zone. We chased some pitches up. The effort is good but we have to be smarter. We have guys trying so hard and then they chase elevated pitches trying to make things happen. When you try and force things, things don't go well."
Auburn's lone run came in the fifth as Jeff Boutwell's two-out single up the middle scored Tyler Johnstone (0-for-3, 2 BB, R) from second.
BSC (5-8) starter Blake Martin (2-1) earned the win for the Panthers after allowing just one run on three hits and six walks with five strikeouts in 5.0 innings. John Baird earned his first save of the season with a nearly-flawless four innings of work, allowing just a hit and walking one.
Johnstone extended his streak of games reaching base safely to 29 games with his first inning walk.
Auburn returns to the diamond on Tuesday evening when Appalachian State comes to Plainsman Park for a 7 p.m. CT game.