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Bobby Peirce (27) during the game between the Indiana Hoosiers and the Auburn Tigers at Plainsman Park in Auburn, AL on Friday, Feb 17, 2023.
Zach Bland/Auburn Tigers
Bobby Peirce (27) during the game between the Indiana Hoosiers and the Auburn Tigers at Plainsman Park in Auburn, AL on Friday, Feb 17, 2023. Zach Bland/Auburn Tigers

Auburn outlasts South Alabama, Drew Nelson shines

Heading into the night Auburn (14-6-1, 0-3 SEC) had lost its last three games and were 1-5 in the previous six matchups. The Tigers were in desperate need to add another game to the win column against South Alabama (8-13) and that is exactly what the team did, as Drew Nelson was able to lead Auburn to victory by a score of 6-5.

Nelson, who previously only started one game prior to tonight, was able to come out and show just how dominant he can be. The freshman was able to go four innings while only giving up one hit and a walk. 

“I just like how a young player hangs in there and gets better over five weeks. It’s nice to see growth,” Auburn head coach Butch Thompson said of Nelson. “He got us off to a great start. All the way into the seventh, we had all freshmen on the mound and three more out there in the field. We’re growing. We’re still having moments, but that was really good for Drew to get us in the ballgame.”

The left-handed pitcher impressed in the strike zone throughout the night, finishing with four strikeouts when all was said and done. 

“I felt good,” Nelson said. “I finally got to extend a little bit, so it felt good to be able to do that and put the team in a position to win.

“It’s all about being able to adjust,” Nelson said of his success of late. “I’ve been able to do just that. I’ve had help from (Coach Thompson) and (Coach Schoenrock) and everybody around really. It’s gotten me to where I am now. I’m comfortable and I feel good.”

Kason Howell would build off a strong campaign against Arkansas. The outfielder finished with three hits and two runs in the win. 

“It was fun to play in this atmosphere. I love playing in Montgomery,” Howell said. “It felt good to get a win tonight.

The unquestionable highlight of the night was a deep home run to left field that would clear the railroad tracks to give Auburn the lead by the fifth-year man. Howell has been finding his footing recently, contributing three home runs in the last six contests. 

“I’m kind of simplifying things and just trying to get a good pitch to hit, be on time and let the results take care of themself” Howell added. “That’s really where I’m at right now and it’s working out. Hopefully I can just be consistent with it and keep it going.”

Chase Isbell would come in during the final frame and deliver a clean inning, giving Auburn the win. 

Despite pitching being solid on the front and back ends, that would not be the case for the rest of the game. Hayden Murphy would struggle on the mound, giving up three hits and two runs after holding the Jaguars scoreless for the first two frames that the pitcher saw action. 

John Armstrong would also struggle against the lineup of South Alabama. In a bind, the sophomore ultimately prevailed and was able to strikeout the side, however, that was not before the Jaguars added on three more runs. 

The Tigers will look to build off the crucial win, turning focus toward SEC rivals Georgia (14-7, 0-3 SEC) this coming weekend. The Bulldogs will visit The Plains this Thursday in what will be the first of a three-game series. First pitch is set for 6 p.m. and will be broadcast on the SEC Network. 

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