Long ball leads Auburn to 9-7 win at Lipscomb

NASHVILLE, Ala. – Auburn hit four home runs in the first five innings en route to defeating Lipscomb, 9-7, Tuesday night in Nashville, Tennessee.

The Tigers (11-5) scored nine runs on 10 hits in the first five frames, highlighted by a pair of home runs from Tyler Miller.

“I think we need to continue to grow, and we definitely need to continue to play” head coach Butch Thompson said. “That was the commitment in making the decision to come up here. No regrets there.

“We still have some of the areas we have to continue to grow, but I just know our guys are invested,” Thompson added. “I know our offense got off the bus ready to hit.”

Miller hit a solo home run to get the scoring started in the top of the second and came around for a second time in the third to hit a three-run home run that capped off a four-run frame and gave Auburn the lead for good.

“We came up here for a business trip, faced with this adversity,” Miller said. “It rained at our place, so we came up here, made the five-hour bus trip, and we just knew if we had to come all this way why not let it eat.”

The game marked the first game this season an Auburn player hit multiple home runs. The long balls were the fifth and sixth for Miller this season. The Spanish Fort, Alabama, native collected multiple hits for the eighth time this season and drove in multiple runs for the sixth time.

“Tyler Miller, his first two at-bats were huge for us,” Thompson added. “We needed every one of them.”

Carson Swilling (1-0, 1.08) pitched 3.2 innings in relief and earned his first career win. Swilling allowed one run on a solo homer and struck out a pair of batters.

“I knew my job was to throw strikes and give this team a chance to win,” Swilling said. “That’s what I did. I went out there, tried to do my best, let the defense work behind me, and we got some runs. That’s how it worked out.”

Junior righty Richard Fitts made his first appearance in 11 days and pitched the final two innings in scoreless fashion to earn the save.

Fitts struck out the first two batters he faced in a perfect eighth inning before working around a pair of baserunners to close the door in the ninth. Josh Hall aided the Auburn ace by making a leaping catch near the warning track to end the eighth.

Southpaw Peyton Glavine made his first career start and worked a 1-2-3 first inning, ending the frame with a strikeout. However, Lipscomb’s first four batters of the second inning reached and came in to score to take a 4-1 lead.

Kason Howell started the third inning with his first career home run to cut the deficit to two, and Miller hit his second home run in as many at-bats – this one a three-run shot – to give Auburn the 5-4 lead in the top of the third.

Auburn added to its advantage with four more runs in the fifth. Ryan Bliss started the inning with his fourth homer of the year. Bryson Ware drove in a run on a single to left and Brody Moore capped off the inning with a two-run single to right center.

Lipscomb hit solo home runs in the fifth and sixth innings and scored another on a bases-loaded walk to cut the lead to 9-7.

Joseph Gonzalez entered the game with the bases loaded in the sixth and got the third out to avoid further damage. The Humacao, Puerto Rico native pitched 1.1 scoreless innings and struck out a batter for the Tigers, and the pitching staffs on both sides buckled down to hold the opposition scoreless in the final three frames.

Eight of Auburn’s nine starters collected a hit in the contest, including a pair apiece from Bliss, Miller, Ware and Howell.

The Tigers open Southeastern Conference play at No. 4 Ole Miss (13-3) this weekend.