It was the seniors’ time to shine one day removed from Auburn’s freshman pitcher Keegan Thompson’s one-hitter shut-out of Presbyterian College.
Senior Damek Tomscha knocked out the first home run of the season in the first inning on Sunday. The ball bounced over the edge of Plainsman Park’s 30-foot high left-field wall, bringing in two other runners as well.
“I tried to be a little bit more aggressive,” Tomscha said. “I got a few pitches I could handle and swung pretty well.”
The three runs set the tone for the rest of the game as Auburn moved on to score in every inning but the eighth in the 12-5 win. Tomscha batted 3-for-4 and scored on all of his hits. Senior Ryan Tella managed to make contact all three times he stepped up to the plate, and brought in two runs. Senior Dan Glevenyak added two runs as well. In all, seniors accounted for seven of the Tigers’ 12 points.
Tomscha and Tella led the way with five RBIs in the first three innings that were key for the Tigers as they struggled to gain momentum on the pitcher’s mound. Sophomore Trey Wingenter had his first start for Auburn, but was quickly replaced in the first inning by senior Michael O’Neal after Presbyterian got four of five players on base.
In the fourth inning, O’Neal committed a pitching error and allowed a single and a double that led to three runs for Presbyterian. Then senior Jay Wade came out of the bullpen. He sent 10 straight batters back to the dugout empty handed before junior Trey Cochran-Gill cleaned up in the top of the ninth.
“I think Jay is kind of the unsung hero of our pitching staff,” said Auburn head coach Sunny Golloway. “I was happy to see him get the win today. He was very deserving of it the way he came out of the bullpen and stepped up and pitched.”
Wade’s four innings on Sunday were the most he has pitched since the six he pitched his sophomore year in 2012 against Florida.
“It felt really good to be back out there.” Wade said.
Presbyterian went through three pitchers as well, but failed to find one that could slow Auburn’s success at bat. Tomscha led the team with three runs. Freshman Anfernee Grier, and seniors Glevenyak and Tella each had two. Freshmen Damon Haecker and Connor Short each ran one in, along with sophomore Jordan Ebert.
In the first two matches against Presbyterian, Auburn didn’t have a single runner score more than once.
“It’s always fun when you can start hitting the ball pretty well,” Tomscha said. “You could tell the energy was there today.”
Auburn suffered a disappointing 10-6 loss to Presbyterian on Friday to open the series. The next two games the Tigers set, then tied, a season high of 14 hits. Auburn’s improvement within the weekend series is important looking ahead to playing Alabama in the Capital City Classic in Montgomery on Tuesday. Golloway plans to utilize the lessons learned from this weekend’s losses and wins in the future.
“I think we understand from the pain of losing we have to play our style,” Golloway said. “Today was very much our style.”
Created for Sport Writing, JRNL 3530, taught by Dr. Carvalho at Auburn University