Varnadore shows ‘complete command’ in shutout win

Varnadore fanned 13 to lead the Tigers to a win over Radford and a 5-2 record.

Derek Varnadore carried a no-hitter through 5 1/3 innings and finished the afternoon by allowing just four base runners while striking out 13 in his complete game, 2-0, victory over Radford on Sunday afternoon at Plainsman Park. The 13 strikeouts were the most by an Auburn pitcher since Chris Bootcheck fanned 15 on March 6, 1999.

“That was one of the most fun games I have ever played,” Varnadore said.

“Everything was working for me and Tony (Caldwell) did a great job behind the plate, and the defense played great.”

Of Varnadore’s 13 strikeouts, seven of them were of the leadoff hitter of an inning and four of them were to end an inning. And of the four Radford (3-3) hitters to reach base – two by hits and two on walks – none made it as far as third and only two made it to second.

“That was probably the best pitching performance of innings one through nine that I have seen in a long time,” Auburn head coach John Pawlowski said. “He was in complete command. When we are struggling to score runs, we need that type of performance and he gave us what he could to win today.”

In two outings, Varnadore (2-0) has thrown 16 innings of shutout ball, allowing just five hits and three walks, striking out 17.

“I felt like I had my fastball more today than I did last week so we were spotting that up and working on it,” Varnadore said.

Auburn (5-2), which finished with six hits, used a Creede Simpson walk and a Casey McElroy double to the wall in right to take a 1-0 lead in the first.

A second-inning leadoff double by Kevin Patterson, who was 2-for-3 with two doubles, and a bunt base hit by Wes Gilmer put runners on the corners for Cullen Wacker, who delivered a sacrifice fly to center for all the scoring in the game.

Justin Hargett’s single to lead off the eighth extended his hitting streak to seven games.

Radford’s Bobby Bolling (0-1) took the loss, allowing both runs on five hits and a walk while striking out eight in 6 1/3 innings.

Auburn returns to the field Tuesday when it plays host to Bethune Cookman at 6p.m. in the first game of a two-game series. Game 2 is set for a 4p.m. start Wednesday.

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