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<p>Photo credit: Zach Bland / Auburn Athletics</p>
Photo credit: Zach Bland / Auburn Athletics

No.13 Auburn uses 11-run first inning to propel past Florida A&M 18-8

The No. 13 Auburn Tigers(6-1-1) exploded offensively with an 11-run first inning on their way to a 18-8 victory over Florida A&M(3-7) in seven innings.

Justin Kirby started the scoring off, launching a three-run shot over the right field wall in the bottom half of the first. Cooper McMurray and Cole Foster followed with three-run shots of their own in the first as well. Auburn scored all 11 of their runs in the first without recording a single out.

“It’s a pretty perfect way to start a game as an offense. It was the first time I’ve ever batted around without recording an out,” Kirby said. “It all goes back to passing it down the lineup and hitting is contagious.”

Auburn plated two more runs in the bottom of the third off of a Bryson Ware RBI single and a Kason Howell sacrifice fly. Back-to-back walks in the bottom of the fifth led to two more runs for the Tigers.

“That's a week plus of playing great baseball and the balls are not always going to fall,” said head coach, Butch Thompson. “Sometimes you can hit a ball hard right to a glove somewhere, but they are absolutely evaluating the strike zone very well.”

Graduate student Tommy Vail, got the start for the Tigers going four innings, striking out six without allowing a hit on 58 pitches. For Vail, this was his first start since 2019, when he was sophomore at Notre Dame.

“I did a good job of staying in the moment,” Vail said. “I came in to help this team win in any way I could and I’m just glad to help the team today in that aspect.”

Dallas Tease started the game for the Rattlers giving up eight runs on five hits and three walks. Tease exited the game before he recorded an out. 

The Rattlers first run came in the top half of the fifth, when sophomore left fielder, Will Brown, sent a solo shot over the left field wall. It was Brown’s first home run of the season.

Florida A&M plated seven runs in the top half of the sixth off three walks, four hits, an error and a hit by pitch. “We are trying to let all the kids play, which got us in trouble tonight,” Thompson said.

Auburn freshman, Ike Irish, stayed hot at the dish recording two hits in his four at bats. Irish came into the game leading the SEC and second in NCAA in batting average hitting .586. 

The Tigers look to defend home turf in a three game set against the Lipscomb Bison this weekend, starting Friday, March 3.

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