AUBURN, AL -
Eight Auburn starters combined for 16 hits, and the Tigers salvaged the weekend series with a 7-3 win over Missouri Saturday afternoon at Plainsman Park.
Auburn (19-10, 5-4 SEC) avoided the sweep at the hands of Missouri (13-13, 3-6) by putting together its best offensive output in conference play this year. The Tigers’ 16 hits were their most in a league game since 18 at Arkansas on May 12, 2012.
“I thought (we played better),” Auburn head coach Sunny Golloway said. “I thought our approach coming out against a really good arm … (Mizzou starter Brett) Graves was (throwing) 93 on a couple of those pitches. What a difference a day makes. I thought our approach was really good. I still thought their approach was really good. They hit a lot of balls on the ground.”
Seniors Ryan Tella and Blake Austin led the way with three hits each. Austin was 3-for-4 with a run scored and two RBI, and Tella went 3-for-5. Jordan Ebert, Damek Tomscha, Daniel Robert and J.J. Shaffer had two hits apiece.
For the weekend, Ebert and Austin both batted .500 with Ebert going 7-for-14 and Austin getting six hits in 12 at-bats.
“The toughness he showed all weekend, (Ebert) came up big for us, even in the losses,” Golloway said. “He was a guy getting hits or getting on or driving somebody in. I can’t say enough about the way he’s swinging the bat. And then we asked him to fill in at second base – which is where he played last year. I was worried how that might affect him offensively, but it didn’t.”
Senior Michael O’Neal (2-2), making his first SEC start of the season, got the win after giving up two runs – one earned – on eight hits through five-plus innings of work. Fellow senior Jay Wade picked up his first save of the year as he pitched four innings of one-hit, one-run ball, striking out three.