All-Around Effort Leads Auburn Baseball to Opening Day Shutout

Published: Feb. 16, 2018 at 10:41 PM CST
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AUBURN, Ala. – A balanced attack on the mound, in the field and at the plate led Auburn baseball to a 6-0 win against Longwood on Opening Day at Plainsman Park Friday evening. The win was the Tigers’ eighth straight Opening Day win and fourth shutout in the last five season openers.

Auburn right-handers Casey Mize, Calvin Coker and Cody Greenhill combined to shut out the Lancers (0-1) while facing just five batters over the minimum. The Auburn (1-0) pitching staff struck out 12 and issued just one walk and one hit by pitch while the defense turned in a clean slate in the field.

At the plate, a trio of Tigers turned in multiple hits, and the bottom third of the Auburn lineup went a combined 5-for-10 with three runs scored and three driven in.

“Our team played really steady,” head coach Butch Thompson said.

“Casey got us started off right. It was almost pedestrian for him the first three innings, then the last three inning I really saw him start to click. Our defense was tremendous. Josh Anthony picked up where he left off last season and played great. The bottom of the lineup really came through.”

Mize (1-0, 0.00) earned the win in his first Opening Day start in an Auburn uniform. The Springville, Ala., native tossed 6.0 scoreless innings while allowing three hits with no walks and seven strikeouts. He retired 13 straight from the top of the second inning until the top of the sixth and 14 of the last 16 batters he faced.

“I felt great,” Mize said. “The first couple of innings were kind of a grind. I stayed away from my split-change, for some reason. (Brett Wright) kept calling it, and I kept shaking it. I can’t tell you why, but once we started doing that everything really started clicking. I kind of got in the groove and everything felt like it was supposed to feel.”

Opposite Mize, Longwood starter Steven Farkas (0-1, 4.50) suffered the loss after allowing three runs on six hits in 5.0 innings.

After making a nice play in the field, Anthony got the Auburn offense going with a single through the right side and later came in to score on Wright’s double to left field – his first hit and RBI as a Tiger.

Auburn doubled its lead an inning later when Luke Jarvis hit a leadoff double, stole third base and trotted home as Conor Davis hit a RBI double that one hopped the wall in center field. Davis’ double was the team’s third extra-base hit in the first three innings.

Auburn crossed the plate for the third straight inning and extended the lead to 3-0 when Will Holland hit a RBI single through the left side to score Jeremy Johnson from second.

Luke Jarvis added a pair of insurance runs as he ripped a two-out single right back up the middle to score Brendan Venter and Johnson, who both reached on hit by pitches to start the inning.

With Coker on in relief and cruising to 2.0 shutout innings with five strikeouts, Wright put an exclamation point on the night as he hit a 2-2 pitch over the wall in left-center field for his first home run in an Auburn uniform.

Wright went 2-for-3 with one double, one home run and two RBI on the night. Jarvis and Holland each added a pair of hits with Jarvis driving in two and Holland adding another.

Greenhill made his Auburn pitching debut in the top of the ninth and recorded the final three outs to seal the win.

The Tigers and Lancers square off in game two of the three-game series Saturday at 1 p.m. CT at Plainsman Park. Sophomore right-hander Davis Daniel will make the start for Auburn opposite Longwood junior right-hander Cody Boydstun.

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