Auburn, Ala.—Ryan Tella had two hits and drove home three runs and pitchers Justin Camp and Conner Kendrick combined to allow just one hit in seven and one/third innings of relief as the Auburn Tigers took down Indiana State 6-5 Sunday in the last game of the Auburn Tournament at Plainsman Park.
The win improves the Tigers to 6-1 for the first time since the 2007 baseball season.
Auburn finished its tournament with a 2-1 record with Middle Tennessee State going 3-0, Indiana State finishing 1-2, and College of Charleston 0-3.
Up 3-0 early, Auburn had to battle back from a 5-3 deficit and then hold on for dear life as Kendrick pitched the final three and one/third innings to earn his first career save.
The story of the game may have been Camp, however, as the redshirt freshman allowed a double to the first batter he faced in the second inning, but retired 10 consecutive Sycamore batters before giving way to Kendrick. Together they struck out six and walked three while facing 25 batters.
“We put three on the board real quick and I was thinking we had a lot of momentum, and the next thing you know we’re down by two,” Auburn Coach John Pawlowski says. “The difference was Justin Camp’s ability to get a momentum swing back into our dugout. Clearly they did some real positive things, but for Justin Camp and Conner Kendrick to only give up one hit was big and our defense did a great job.”
Early on it looked like Auburn would run away with the final game of the Auburn Tournament as the Tigers took advantage of three first inning errors by Indiana State to take an early 3-0 lead. Leading off the contest freshman Jackson Burgreen singled to left field to continue his solid play early in the 2013 season.
Attempting to bunt Burgreen to second, Auburn shortstop Dan Glevenyak bunted the ball back to Indiana State pitcher Jeff Degano, but he slipped allowing both runners to advance safely.
Tella followed with a ground ball to short that was booted to load the bases with nobody out. The struggles in the field continued for the Sycamores as Damek Tomscha hit a ground ball to short that was fielded cleanly and thrown to second for the force, but the throw to first was wild. The third error of the inning allowed both Burgreen and Glevenyak to score for the Tigers. A Cullen Wacker fly ball pushed across Tomscha for the 3-0 Auburn lead.
Unfortunately for Auburn, starter Rocky McCord was unable to make the lead stand up. Allowing a single and a double to start the second inning, the sophomore walked Taylor Steen to load the bases for number nine hitter Tyler Wampler. McCord then committed a cardinal sin in baseball by hitting him to force home the first run of the inning for the Sycamores.
That would open the floodgates for the visitors as a groundout and a pair of singles added four more runs for Indiana State before Camp came in to put an end to the rally. When the dust had settled Auburn trailed 5-3 with plenty of work to do.
The Tigers started the comeback right away as a one-out single by freshman Jordan Ebert and Burgreen’s second hit of the game put a pair of runners on base for the heart of the Auburn order. A walk to Glevenyak loaded the bases for Tella and the junior delivered with a double to left field to score both freshmen and tie the game at five.
Auburn took back the lead two innings later and once again Tella was at the center of things. With one out Glevenyak drilled a double to the gap in right field to get into scoring position for the center fielder. Once again Tella came through, this time with a single for his third RBI of the game.
Leading 6-5 the Tigers turned things over to the bullpen the rest of the way as Camp and Kendrick shut down Indiana State to secure the victory.
Burgreen, Tella, and Austin each had two hits for the Tigers as they finished with 12 for the game. All nine hitters had at least one hit for Auburn. On the mound McCord allowed five runs on five hits to push his ERA to 9.53 early in the year.
Auburn will return to action Tuesday at 3 p.m. CST as the Tigers face Kennesaw State at Plainsman Park.