Ben Jones' Nine RBI Ignites Auburn Offense In 26-6 Win Over Troy
April 28, 2009
AUBURN, Ala. - Ben Jones cracked a grand slam and a three-run home run in back-to-back at bats on Tuesday night, finishing with a career-high nine RBI on three hits as Auburn pounded out a season-high 22 hits in a 26-6 rout of Troy. Auburn finished the night with the sixth five-homer night of the season and took over the national lead in home runs with 97 on the season.
"It was good for our team's confidence tonight. We had been struggling a little offensively to manufacture runs and I thought the guys put some really good swings on it today," Auburn Head Coach John Pawlowski said. "The real key after this game is what we do with it; can they carry it over to tomorrow and hopefully carry it over into the weekend."
Auburn (26-19) had three six-run innings on the night, accomplishing the feat in the fourth, sixth and seventh as the team snapped a five-game losing streak. Joining Jones with home run trots were Trent Mummey (14), Brian Fletcher (14) and Dan Gamache (3). Mummey finished the night with three hits and a walk, coming up a double shy of the cycle and scoring four runs to up his team-leading total to 59.
Auburn went up 3-0 in the first as Mummey tripled and scored on a Justin Hargett ground-out before Jones drove in his first two RBI of the night with a bases-loaded, two-out single to right.
Troy (25-17) cut the lead to two at 3-2 in the top of the second on a Steven Felix sac fly and an Adam Bryant RBI single only to have Auburn answer with a run in the bottom half of the inning as Hargett drove in the third of his career-high five RBI on the night.
Troy tied the game at 4-4 in the top of the fourth on a single and a sac fly before the flood gates opened in the bottom of the fourth as Auburn sent nine men to the plate. Mummey led off the inning with a homer and Wes Gilmer drove in a pair with a two-out single before Gamache launched his third home run of the season in the visitor's bullpen in right-center, a three-run blast to put Auburn up 10-4.
A four-run fifth followed for Auburn as Jones blasted his first career grand slam, the third of the season for Auburn, giving Jones at the time a then-career-high six RBI on the night and putting Auburn up 14-4.
"Every time I came up to bat we had runners on. We had 22 hits today and just did a great job of team offense," Jones said. "We got hot tonight and things got rolling. Hitting is contagious. This is a big win and it's great to get a win under our belts."
The Auburn bats stayed hot in the sixth with Jones again delivering a blast, this time hitting a two-out, three-run shot to center. Only a Fletcher sac fly with the bases loaded after Hunter Morris drew a bases-loaded walk prevented Jones from hitting back-to-back grand slams as Auburn led 20-6 after six complete.
Jones' nine RBI were the most by an Auburn hitter since Bob Berry drove in 10 in a 12-4 win over Huntingdon on April 15, 1982.
Auburn completed its biggest win since the 2000 season with its six runs in the seventh as Hargett drove in two, Casey McElroy drove in a run and Fletcher hit his 14th home run of the season. Fletcher's four RBI night marked the third time this season he has driven in at least four in a game.
With five home runs, Auburn caught and passed national home run leader New Mexico State (95), which did not play on Tuesday night.
The last time Auburn won a game by as many as 20 runs was when it downed Samford 28-6 on February 8, 2000.
Taylor Thompson (3-3) earned his first win in a month, tossing five innings and allowing six runs on nine hits with five strikeouts.
Jeff Green (3-3) took the loss for Troy, allowing six runs in relief of starter Tim Wheeler, who surrendered four runs in 1 1/3 innings but was taken off the hook when Troy tied the game at 4-4 in the top of the fourth.
Auburn has now homered in nine straight games, matching its longest stretch of the season, and has hit 23 home runs over that time frame.
The two teams will complete the home-and-home at 6pm on Wednesday at Riddle-Pace field at Troy.
Auburn 26, Troy 6 (Apr 28, 2009 at Auburn, AL)
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