March 14, 2014
By Phillip Marshall
AUBURN, Ala. – In senior right-hander Dillon Ortman’s second Southeastern Conference start and head coach Sunny Golloway’s first SEC game, Auburn’s baseball team spoiled Texas A&M’s first visit to Plainsman Park on Friday night.
Ortman pitched a complete-game four-hitter as the Tigers opened SEC play in style, beating the No. 23 Aggies 4-0 before a crowd of 2,697. They won for the sixth straight time and won their SEC opener for the first time since 2010 to move to 12-6 for the season. Texas A&M fell to 13-6. Because of inclement weather forecast for Sunday, a doubleheader is scheduled for noon
Ortman, from Grissom High School in Huntsville, struck out three, walked one and hit one in pitching the first complete game of his career.
“It felt great,” Ortman said. “We played great defense behind me. Blake (Austin) did a great job behind the plate. I can’t say enough about it.”
Golloway had plenty to say about it.
“I thought Dillon was pretty special,” Golloway said. “He pretty much had command of all his pitches. … He lost control of his slider on one hitter. That’s the only time I can remember we lost control on one particular pitch.”
Sophomore left fielder Jordan Ebert and senior third baseman Damek Tomscha, both on hot streaks, had three hits apiece to lead the Tigers.
The Tigers, Ebert said, are feeling good about themselves.
“We are really starting to believe we can do it in the locker room, and I think that makes the biggest difference,” Ebert said. “You saw it with our football team. They go in and have a lot of close games against below average to pretty good teams. As soon as they realized they were good enough to do it, that’s where it all changed.
“That’s what is happening with this team. We are realizing we are pretty good.”
Over the last six games, Ebert is hitting .450 with three doubles, four home runs and seven RBI. He’s hitting .388 for the season. Ebert is hitting .542 over the last six games with a triple and four RBI. He’s hitting .365 for the season.
Auburn scored two runs on three hits in the first inning. Ebert and Tomscha had singles. The runs scored on Austin’s sacrifice fly and a checked-swing single by freshman Daniel Roberts on the first SEC pitch he saw.
The Tigers got another run in the second when Jordan Haecker was hit by a pitch, Ebert and Dan Glevenyak singled and Haecker scored on Tomscha’s grounder. In the eighth, Keegan Thompson singled and scored on a wild pitch by reliever Andrew Vinson.
For Golloway, the first SEC win was a reminder of how far his team has come since struggling early in the season.
“We are not even close to where we are started,” Golloway said. “We were out in the pasture. We can see the barn, but the hay is still not in it. But we’re getting there. Our guys are all running in the right direction, so that makes it fun.”
Texas A&M right-hander Daniel Mendgen, a projected high draft pick, took the loss. Despite giving up nine hits, walking two batters and hitting two, he pitched 7 2/3 innings.
Thompson (3-0, 0.30) will get the start for Auburn in the first of two nine-inning games. Sophomore Justin Camp (1-1, 2.10) will start the nightcap.
Phillip Marshall is a Senior Writer for AuburnTigers.com. Follow Marshall on Twitter: