April 6, 2007
BATON ROUGE, La. -
Paul Burnside did not allow a hit until the sixth inning in the first complete by a Tiger pitcher since the 2005 season and Robert Brooks smacked a grand slam in the third inning for his first career home run as Auburn defeated LSU, 6-1, on Friday night at Alex Box Stadium.
"Paul was in total command of the strike zone and we played good defense behind him," Auburn Head Coach Tom Slater said. "Paul's pitch count never got up tonight. He was very efficient, getting ahead early and getting them out."
Burnside (5-1) was strong in all nine innings for the Tigers, allowing just three hits while striking out five as he faced the minimum number of hitters possible through the first four innings. He was aided by the defense all night long as Ryan Jenkins threw out an LSU runner trying to steal second in the second and Auburn turned a double-play in the fourth to eliminate both of Burnside's walks on the evening.
"It definitely wasn't all me, the defense worked their tails off behind me. (Ryan) Jenkins was blocking balls left and right behind the plate all night and he hosed a guy down at second base early in the game that really helped me out," Burnside said. "I was just trying to pitch and throw strikes and the guys behind me made the plays."
Auburn (22-11, 2-8 SEC) also turned a crucial double play in the seventh as Luke Greinke caught a fly ball in left and Josh Donaldson relayed the throw to Jenkins at the plate to nail Steven Waguespack trying to scorer from third. LSU (17-14-1, 3-6-1 SEC) would not reach base after that double-play.
Auburn's big third inning was set up by a Greinke (1-for-4, R) bunt single, which was followed by Donaldson (0-for-4, 2 R, RBI) reaching on a fielder's choice and Greinke getting to second safely as LSU starting pitcher Charlie Furbush threw the ball wide of second trying to get him. Dustin Spruill (1-for-5, R) then singled to load the bases, setting the stage for Auburn's second grand slam of the season.
"This was a special home run for me, obviously, being the first of my career, but it also came against a great program and will hopefully help us as we try to stay on a roll," Brooks said. "I just tried to hit it hard to the right side of the field as that's what you want to do in that situation."
Auburn had put two runs up in the first on Donaldson's sacrifice fly to center that was dropped by LSU centerfielder Jared Mitchell and Joseph Sander's (2-for-5) RBI single. Both Bruce Edwards (0-for-3, BB) and Donaldson stole bases in the inning, putting the pressure on the LSU defense early and helping the Tigers take the early lead.
Auburn stole five bases in the game as Edwards stole two and Donaldson, Sanders and Brooks each stole one. It was the third five-steal game for the Tigers this season.
The complete game was the first by an Auburn pitcher since Josh Sullivan went the distance against VMI on March 12, 2005 in a 12-0 Auburn win. It was also the first complete game in SEC play for the Tigers since Arnold Hughey did it at Alabama on April 17, 2004 in a 7-1 AU win.
Furbush took the loss for LSU to fall to 3-4 on the year, allowing all six runs on eight hits in 5.0 innings.
The two teams will play the second game of the series at 3pm CT on Saturday. Fr. RHP Taylor Thompson (3-0) takes the hill for Auburn while LSU counters with So. LHP Ryan Byrd.