No. 16 Auburn Blasts its Way Past South Alabama, 10-4
By George Nunnelley
AUBURN, Ala. – No. 16 Auburn hit four home runs and closed out its home non-conference slate with a 10-4 win against South Alabama Tuesday Night at Plainsman Park. The Tigers swept the season series against the in-state Jaguars.
The Auburn (35-14) offense produced double-digit runs for the third straight game and seventh time in its last 12 contests, while the pitching combination of Jack Owen and Welby Malczewski allowed just four runs on four hits.
“All-in-all I thought everyone was pretty professional,” head coach Butch Thompson said. “We got off to a good start, (South Alabama) brought it back and tied the game, and we answered it quickly. We’re still playing good ball and excited about going to Oxford, Mississippi now.”
Offensively, the Tigers added four home runs and have now homered in six straight games with a total of 13 long balls during the span. It marks the sixth time this season that Auburn has had three or more home runs in a game.
Owen started the game by retiring the first 10 batters – five via the strikeout – and ultimately allowed three runs (two earned) on three hits with one walk and a career-high six strikeouts. Malczewski (4-0, 5.14) picked up the win after throwing a career high 5.0 innings and allowing one run (unearned) on one hit with one walk and one strikeout.
Will Holland set the tone in the contest with a leadoff home run over the wall in left field to get things started. The leadoff bomb was Auburn’s first since Anfernee Grier on March 19, 2016.
Auburn added two more runs in the bottom of the second when Brendan Venter homered for the third straight game, launching the 12th pitch of his at-bat just inside the foul pole in left field. Venter became the first player to homer in three straight contests since Damek Tomscha also did so in 2014, but the Auburn third baseman wasn’t done yet.
After South Alabama got the three runs back with three hits and a pair of Tiger errors in the top of the fourth, Venter sent his second home run of the game to the left of the scoreboard to put Auburn back on top, 5-3. Over the last six games, Venter is 12-for-21, including a 4-for-4 effort Tuesday, with four home runs, three doubles, and eight RBI. He became the first Auburn player to homer in consecutive at bats since 2016.
Auburn added a pair in the bottom of the fifth when Edouard Julien crushed his 13th homer of the year just left of the batters eye in centerfield. His 13 home runs are the most by an Auburn player since 2010. The Quebec City native now has 52 RBI on the season, marking the most by a freshman nationally and the most by an Auburn freshman since 1999.
Auburn added a trio of insurance runs in the bottom of the eighth inning on double play ball with the bases loaded and a two-out, RBI single from Brett Wright before Malczewski closed things out.
The Tigers collected 17 hits in total, including multi-hit games from Holland, Julien, Venter, Wright and Jay Estes. Estes is 10-for-15 in his last four games and has raised his average 34 points during the span with two or more hits in all four contests.