AUBURN, Ala. – Auburn’s baseball team staggered and fell Tuesday night in a flurry of errors and weak swings at the plate.
Samford scored three unearned runs in the third inning at Plainsman Park and would need no more. The Bulldogs, 12-1 losers to Alabama and 23-7 losers to Alabama State earlier in the season, celebrated an 8-1 victory.
Auburn finished with four errors, two wild pitches and a passed ball. At bat, the Tigers managed just four hits after the first inning.
A week after climbing into the national rankings, Auburn lost for the third time in four games. The Tigers are 19-11 overall and 5-4 in the Southeastern Conference going into a weekend series at No. 23 Ole Miss. Samford improved to 17-11.
The first three innings told the story of the night for Auburn.
In the bottom of the first, Ryan Tella, Damek Tomscha and Blake Austin strung together one-out singles for a 1-0 lead. But Tomscha tagged and tried to score on Daniel Robert’s flyball to short left field. He was thrown out at home by 10 feet or more.
In the top of the third, the tying run scored on a passed ball and two more runs scored after Tomscha made back-to-back throwing errors from third base.
After starting pitcher Trey Wingenter got out of a bases-loaded, no-out jam in the fourth, the Bulldogs took full command in the seventh on Brandon Powell’s two-run single off Trey Cochran-Gill, the third Auburn pitcher, and a wild pitch.
Auburn coach Sunny Golloway said he was not overly disappointed with his team’s effort. Falling behind early, he said, proved too much to overcome.
“That’s just baseball,” Golloway said. “They are a free-swinging club. Them getting out to a 3-1 lead allowed them to play the game they want to play. We have to be patient as far as knowing the zone. Our guys were coming back a little frustrated. I can’t comment on that, so I won’t.
“I’m not terribly disappointed. I’m a little concerned offensively about us attacking the ball in the zone. Hitting in negative counts made it awful tough on us tonight.”
Starter Trey Wingenter gave up four hits and three unearned runs in five innings. Samford got to relievers Justin Camp Cochran-Gill and Reid Carter for five more runs.
“(Wingenter) got in trouble and we had some miscues and it got his pitch count up there,” Golloway said. “He threw the ball really well for five innings. We have to find somebody out of the bullpen. Other than Jay Wade and Terrance Dedrick, we have to find somebody.”
Jordan Ebert had two hits for Auburn. Tella, Tomscha, Austin, Robert and Damon Haecker had one hit apiece.
Senior second baseman Dan Glevenyak continues to be out with an abdominal issue.