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April 12, 2022; Auburn, AL, USA; Mason Barnett (18) pitches the ball during the game between Auburn and Samford at Plainsman Park. Mandatory Credit: Jacob Taylor/AU Athletics
April 12, 2022; Auburn, AL, USA; Mason Barnett (18) pitches the ball during the game between Auburn and Samford at Plainsman Park. Mandatory Credit: Jacob Taylor/AU Athletics

Nate LaRue’s 10th Inning Walk Off RBI Single Lifts the Tigers over the Alabama State Hornets 6-5 In a Midweek Skirmish

On a beautiful evening on the Plains, the No. 19 Auburn Tigers would take on the Alabama State Hornets at Plainsman Park. Auburn came into the game after losing the weekend series in Starkville to the reigning national champion Mississippi State Bulldogs and were looking to bounce back and grab some momentum before tomorrow’s game against Kennesaw State and this weekend’s series against the South Carolina Gamecocks. 

Auburn junior Mason Barnett would get the start midweek start for the Tigers, coming off his five inning, six strikeout performance vs Samford last Tuesday. He would finish the evening going five innings while striking out eight and only allowing one run. 

The Tigers got the scoring started in the contest thanks to a Sonny DiChiara RBI double to score Kason Howell in the first inning. The Hornets would level the score in the fourth inning thanks to an RBI 4-6-3 double play. The lead would not stay tied for long. The Tigers would put together a three run fifth thanks in part to a RBI triple from Bobby Peirce and a 2-RBI single from Blake Rambusch. 

Jordan Armstrong would then enter the game for the Tigers. It would be a struggle for the senior as he gave up four walks including walking in two runs with the bases loaded. He would be replaced by Chase Allsup after only recording one out in thirty pitches. He would come in and have similar results to Armstrong, walking in two runs in the sixth to give the 5-4 lead to the Hornets in the sixth inning. 

Carson Skipper would take the mound in the seventh for the Tigers who were starting to become desperate for a relief pitcher that could hit the zone. He would prove to be helpful for the Tigers in the seventh, only giving up one hit and striking out one. Blake Burkhalter would enter in the ninth for the Tigers, as they looked to keep the Hornets lead to one run. He would do just that, striking out three while only allowing one hit on an infield single. 

The Tigers were down by one in the bottom of the ninth needing the bats to come alive for the first time since the fifth inning. An infield single from Blake Rambusch would be enough to tie the game, but a Kason Howell strikeout would take the teams to extra innings, while stranding three runners on base. 

“I’d say that’s just kind of our mindset, we’re gonna do anything, doesn’t mean we’re gonna try and do too much we’re just gonna do enough to try and get the win and just keep fighting for our guys.” said Rambusch when asked about his battle to fight and get a two out hit to tie the game and send it to extras. 

In extras, Blake Burkhalter would remain dominant for the Tigers, striking out two batters as the Hornets went three up, three down. 

“They (the coaches) were thinking like one inning tonight, but it got extended a little bit, but as long as we got the win, we’re excited,” said Burkhalter, who picked up the win in two innings of relief with five strikeouts and only allowing one hit.

Finally, in the bottom of the tenth with two outs, Nate LaRue hit an RBI single to left that scored Brooks Carlson and gave the victory to the Tigers, 6-5 in extras. 

“We’ll take whatever comes” said Coach Butch Thompson when asked about the midweek battle the Tigers won in extras. 

“I’m thankful to get this one…but it’s gonna be one of those weeks where we knew going into it how big a week this is gonna be,” Thompson said when talking about tomorrow night’s matchup versus Kennesaw State and this weekend’s series with the South Carolina Gamecocks. 

Tigers will be back in Plainsman Park tomorrow night to take on the Kennesaw State Owls. First pitch is scheduled for 6 p.m. and will be available to watch on SEC Network +. 

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