Atlanta, Ga. – Auburn (19-13-1, 4-8) took to the field under the lights of Russ Chandler Stadium in search of a win over longtime foes Georgia Tech (20-13, 7-8). In a game that saw it all, Auburn would make a late comeback, but it would not be enough as Georgia Tech was able to secure the victory by a score of 12-8.
“It’s pretty simple. Our guys always fight. We’re absolutely going to keep doing that. We’ve done it time and time again,” Auburn head coach Butch Thompson said. “We can’t do what we want to do until we put our face in the mitt. I don’t know any other way to slice it.”
Like much of the season, Auburn struggled with pitching. Chase Allsup got the call to start the game for the Tigers. The sophomore tried to put a less than ideal Texas A&M outing in the past, which saw the sophomore loaded the bases while only recording one out, but many of the same problems arose.
Although the game went smoother than Allsup’s previous appearance, it would come nowhere close to the outcome hoped. Allsup would go three innings of action, giving up six runs while walking four batters.
Four of the runs given up by Allsup happened in the first two innings. After the quick start by Georgia Tech, it seemed the right-handed pitcher was able to adjust, throwing a scoreless third inning, but would load the bases for the second straight game.
After walking 25 batters between the pitching staff in Friday’s doubleheader against Texas A&M, the issue of not being able to command the zone, once again, posed a challenge for the Tigers, as the group finished with 12 walks on the night.
While Auburn struggled with pitching, Georgia Tech exceled in keeping the Tigers at bay when it mattered the most.
Despite facing off against 10 different pitchers, that is not where Auburn’s offensive struggles stemmed from. The Tigers were able to record 13 hits but had a hard time converting those into runs. When all said and done Auburn left eight runners on base, with the most crucial of these instances coming in the first and third innings, as the bases would be filled with one out but no runs were scored.
“We’re giving a consistent effort all the way around,” Thompson added. “What I’m starting with I’ll finish with, I think our fortunes will change once we stick our head in the mitt and start locating some pitches.”
Even with the struggles, Auburn made a late push in the final two innings of the game. A Kason Howell double quickly followed by a Caden Green single saw the Tigers score two runs in the top of the eighth inning.
A routine throw turned into absolute mayhem for Georgia Tech, as Bobby Pirce was able to score and make it a one run game after scoring off a wild pitch in the top of the ninth. Bryson Ware, the winning run, stepped into the box with the comeback feeling in the air. That feeling showed as the infielder hit a homerun that saw Auburn take the lead.
Although a great effort from Auburn, it would come a little too late, as Georgia Tech still had energy in the tank and capitalized shortly after, loading the bases before forcing extra innings, where the Yellow Jackets walked the game off with a grand slam in the bottom of the tenth.
Bobby Pierce would undoubtably be the star of the game, finishing with five hits. The outfielder would come up one homerun short of hitting for the cycle. This marks the first multi-hit game for Pierce since the series opener at Florida and the first five-hit game of senior’s career.
Auburn will be back in action this Friday in a three-game series against Alabama. The Tigers will take to the field for a 6 p.m. CT first pitch at Sewell-Thomas Stadium.