Pawlowski’s squad gets back on track

The Auburn bats pounded out 16 hits and the Auburn pitching staff held Texas Southern to just five hits as the Auburn baseball team cruised to an 11-1 win on Wednesday night at Plainsman Park.

Auburn needed an opponent to help it forget about its shutout loss to Samford on Tuesday, and Texas Southern was just the team to provide that amnesia.

The Tigers scored all of their runs in the first four innings off Texas Southern, more than enough for an 11-1 win at Plainsman Park on Wednesday night.

“That taste we had in our mouths last night was certainly one we wanted to get rid of,” Auburn coach John Pawlowski said. “I thought our players came out tonight with the right frame of mind and played some good, solid baseball. It was certainly what we needed.”

Auburn (23-18) put up three in the first inning on a two-run single by Kevin Patterson and an RBI groundout from Cullen Wacker.

Justin Fradejas and Dan Gamache hit back-to-back solo shots in the second to extend the Tigers’ lead to 5-0.

A two-run single by Casey McElroy and a sacrifice fly from Patterson made the lead 8-0 after the third, and a Gamache two-run double and McElroy RBI groundout polished off the scoring in the fourth.

Blake Austin went 4-for-5 with a double from the 9-spot, Fradejas was 3-for-5, and Gamache, McElroy and Creede Simpson each had two hits in support of Bradley Hendrix (2-1), who gave up a run on three hits and struck out three in the win.

“We always talk about how it starts on the mound, and I thought Bradley Hendrix did a great job out there for us tonight,” Pawlowski said. “We needed to get some momentum from the start, and he went out there and gave us that.”

Texas Southern (19-22) scored its only run in the sixth on an RBI double off Hendrix by Justin Cook, who also pitched three innings of scoreless relief for the Tigers.

Auburn relievers Sean Ray and Jay Wade held Texas Southern scoreless for the final four innings.

Gamache said Wednesday’s win was a good springboard for the Tigers’ weekend series at No. 2 South Carolina, which starts Friday night.

“We’ve kind of struggled getting ahead early lately,” Gamache said. “It’s a great confidence-builder.”

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