By Phillip Marshall
AUBURN - On a cold Wednesday night at Plainsman Park, Auburn's baseball team found itself in another fiercely contested showdown with Alabama State. This time, the Tigers escaped with a 6-5 victory.
On Feb. 19, Alabama State came to town and won 9-3 for its first-ever victory over Auburn. Redemption didn't come easily. The Hornets took a 2-0 lead in the top of the fourth, fell behind 4-2 in the bottom of the fourth and went ahead 5-4 in the top of the fifth.
Ryan Tella's home run to lead off the seventh and pinch-hitter Daniel Robert's run-scoring single gave the Tigers and their bullpen all they would need to lock up their fifth consecutive victory.\
The Tigers improved to 11-6 and start Southeastern Conference play on Friday when Texas A&M comes to town for a three-game series. Alabama State fell to 15-5.
Senior Jay Wade, Auburn's third pitcher, was masterful. He took over to start the sixth inning and retired nine consecutive hitters on just 20 pitches and got the win to run his record to 2-0. Trey Cochran-Gill pitched a scoreless ninth, giving up a two-out double, for his first save.
"We've let them come into our yard and get the lead, and they play loose when they get the lead," Auburn coach Sunny Golloway said. "That's why I thought Tella's home run was really big. The way Jay Wade stabilized the game was huge. ... He made really quick work of them."
Hot-hitting Damek Tomscha led off the fourth inning with his fifth home run, third in three games and fourth in five games.
"Offensively, I think we are swinging the bat better," Golloway said. "We are driving the ball. Our slugging percentage has really, really gotten better, and that's been big for us. Before, it was taking four or five singles to score a run."
With freshman Anfernee Grier out with a hairline fracture in the area of his hand, did not play Wednesday night. Golloway said he will be re-evaluated Thursday and, if he is not in danger of worsening the injury, could return to the lineup Friday.
Auburn committed four errors, giving it nine for the past two games.
"That has me really baffled. We have to be interchangeable."
Blake Austin, normally a catcher, played third base and made three of them. The other one came on a throwing error on a pickoff attempt by starting pitcher Jacob Milliman.
Dan Glevenyak had a triple and a double for the Tigers. Damon Haecker, batting in the leadoff spot, had two singles.
Phillip Marshall is a Senior Writer for AuburnTigers.com. Follow Marshall on Twitter: