Posted: 5:46 p.m. Sunday, April 7, 2013
First-time starter Rafael Pineda (3-2) dominated Auburn, particularly with his slider, at Blue Bell Park on Sunday afternoon, leading Texas A&M; to a 4-1 win and deny the Tigers a sweep.
Pineda went 7 2/3 innings, giving up six hits, a walk and only one run while striking out three. He wasn't overwhelming with velocity, but Auburn head coach John Pawlowski noted a lack of good swings at the plate from the Tigers, combined with the Pineda's slider, produced a lot of easy outs for the Aggies' defense.
Auburn (19-13, 3-9 SEC) starter Will Kendall (0-3) had his longest outing in a year, going five innings but allowing one more run than his counterpart and picked up the loss. He fanned five and allowed only five hits, but the A&M; hits were strung together in a better way than Auburn's.
Auburn surrendered a first-inning lead for what seemed like the 58th time this season, and though it was only 1-0, it again put pressure on the Tigers' bats and arms from the outset, which can't be contributing positively to the their hitting with runners in scoring position when trailing late. Though Auburn has several comeback wins this year, a few more games even remotely resembling Saturday's slugfest would be lovely.
Jordan Ebert tripled and scored on Cullen Wacker's RBI single in the fourth to tie it at 1-1, but Auburn immediately gave the lead back. A&M; (20-13, 6-6) used a fourth-inning triple from Jonathan Moroney that drove in Blake Allemand to give the Aggies a lead their staff wouldn't give back.
They extended the lead to 4-1 with runs in the sixth and seventh. Dillon Ortman came on in relief of Kendall and allowed two runs on two hits and a hit batter in an inning-plus. Reid Carter walked two in two-thirds of an inning, and Chase Williamson pitched the final 1 1/3 innings, giving up a walk and striking out three.
Ebert and Wacker's one-two punch in the fourth was practically the only highlight for Auburn at the plate on Sunday. Both went 2-for-4, while Garrett Cooper went 1-for-4 with a leadoff double in the second.
Alabama State visits Plainsman Park on Wednesday at 6 p.m. Auburn won the clubs' previous meeting on March 19, 10-2, in a midweek home game.