Julien doubles for Auburn in win over Texas A&M
April 13, 2019
Auburn blanks Aggies to even series
By George Nunnelley
COLLEGE STATION, Texas – No. 19 Auburn returned the favor after last night’s opener as the Tigers blanked No. 12 Texas A&M, 7-0, to even the series Saturday afternoon at Blue Bell Park.
Conor Davis got the Auburn offense started with a two-run home run in the Tigers’ three-run first inning. The pitching combination of Brooks Fuller, Ryan Watson and Cody Greenhill took care of the rest as the trio turned in the team’s seventh shutout of the season.
"I just saw a huge focus by our offense today," head coach Butch Thompson said on the Auburn Sports Network. "Even how we finished. It wasn't just the start, but it was the finish also. We were focused for nine innings. That's the consistency you want to breed. Now you start hunting for another nine innings of consistent baseball tomorrow."
The Tigers (24-11, 8-6 SEC) got out to an early lead with the aforementioned three runs in the top of the first inning. Kason Howell came home to score on a wild pitch after singling through the left side and advancing to third on Quebec City, Que., native Edouard Julien’s 10th double of the season. Two pitches later, Davis extended the lead to 3-0 with his fourth home run of the year.
"After yesterday, there was a lot of talk about how we just need to keep doing what we're doing," Davis said. "I know we've had a little bit of a slump lately, but we've just been sticking to what we know, grinding and having a lot of fight in us."
Fuller (2-1, 2.32) turned in his best outing in an Auburn uniform en route to the win. The freshman southpaw turned in a season-high six scoreless innings and allowed just four hits. Fuller induced 10 ground balls outs, including a pair of double plays, and struck out four batters in the contest.
"I just threw strikes today," Fuller said. "(The offense) gave me a three-run lead in the first inning, and that was a good cushion. But really the name of the game today was strikes."
The Tigers handed Texas A&M starter Asa Lacy (6-1, 1.69) his first loss of the season. The Aggies left-hander lasted a season-low 4.2 innings and struck out a season-low four batters after entering the weekend with 14.61 strikeouts per nine innings – the fourth best mark in the nation.
With Auburn leading 3-0, Texas A&M (26-10-1, 8-5-1 SEC) threatened after Fuller issued a leadoff walk in the seventh and was relieved by Ryan Watson. However, Judd Ward cut down the Aggies would-be first run of the game at the plate as Logan Foster attempted to score from second on a single to left. It was Ward’s fourth outfield assist of the season.
Cody Greenhill then came on for Watson with two outs and a pair of runners in scoring position and recorded the final out of the frame to keep Texas A&M off the scoreboard.
Texas A&M reliever Chandler Jozwiak retired the first 10 batters he faced after relieving Lacy in the fifth, but Auburn got to the Aggies bullpen with four runs in the ninth inning. Howell made it a four-run lead with a two-out single to right field. Davis then drew a bases loaded walk to tack on another run before Ward capped off the scoring with a two-run double to right-center.
Greenhill went back to work in the bottom of the ninth and secured his eighth save of the season, including his SEC-best sixth save in conference play. Four of Greenhill’s six league saves have come on the road.
Howell, Ryan Bliss, Steven Williams and Matt Scheffler each turned in a pair of hits to account for eight of the Tigers’ 11 hits. It was the second straight multi-hit game for Williams.