The Jackets made a brief stop at home in the midst of a stretch with eight games away. Last week started poorly but ended with Tech winning its fifth straight weekend series, the last four despite losing the first game. Winners of seven of the last ten, they attempted to sweep the season series over Auburn, who had lost seven of their last ten. The previous weeks showed in the polls, with the Jackets climbing to the low teens and Auburn dropping out. The teams had identical 24-12 records, but Tech would leave with the better record, winning 11-6.
Amos Willingham (4-2, 4.15) returned to midweek duty after starting the Friday game against Notre Dame with limited success. He faced freshman lefty Carson Skipper (3-2, 7.16). Tristin English failed to start the first time this year after being hit by a pitch Sunday in Boston. McCann played 1st base and Cameron Turley caught.
Auburn started hot, scoring one in the 1st inning on two hits and a walk, but an inning ending double play prevented worse damage. Willingham got into more second inning trouble making an error on a batted ball that ricocheted off his leg and walking two to load the bases with one out. Jake Lee came in to try and get out of it. He limited the damage to two runs before getting out three on a strikeout as Auburn led 3-0.
Cort Roedig came in to pitch the 3rd and worked around a throwing error to keep the score 3-0. Skipper was rolling until he walked Guldberg and McCann with two outs in Tech’s 3rd and Radcliff hit a RBI single on a 3-2 count to make it 3-1. Auburn brought in freshman righty Will Morrison, who got out three.
Roedig used two strikeouts to get out of trouble after a one out double in Auburn’s 4th. Colin Hall led off the 4th with a double and Jackson Webb drove him in with a single. After Morrison hit Nick Wilhite, Auburn brought in senior lefty Blake Schilleci. A sac fly RBI by Waddell scored Webb after he smartly took third on a barely passed ball. Next, singles by Guldberg and McCann scored the go ahead run and Tech led 4-3 after four.
The lead was brief as Auburn scored without a hit in their 5th with a walk, stolen base, and two groundouts. Roedig was pulled for Jonathan Hughes after giving up a double down the third base line. After Austin Wilhite walked and Hall singled him to third, a weird ground rule double scored both of them to make it 6-4. Webb’s ball down the third base line was bobbled by the left fielder over the bullpen fence, and the umps ruled Hall could take three bases but Webb only two. He soon stole third anyway after Auburn brought in junior righty Ryan Watson, who walked Turley and then after Webb was out at third on a fielder’s choice, Waddell singled in Turley to make it 7-4 after five.
In the 6th, Austin Wilhite singled and brother Nick singled him in with two outs, making it 8-4. Sophomore lefty Bailey Horn came into pitch.
An error led to Auburn’s fifth run in their 7th when Austin Wilhite let a grounder get past him and two singles scored him with two outs. The Jackets got that run right back when Guldberg walked, moved around on a wild pitch and groundout, and scored on Austin Wilhite’s two out single. They got another on Hall’s single and Tech led 10-5 after seven with Hugh Chapman taking the mound. Auburn got a run in their half, but once again Tech answered against sixth pitcher Kyle Gray, a junior lefty. Guldberg singled in Nick Wilhite to restore the five run lead.
Micah Carpenter came in to close for Tech. Auburn didn’t go easy with two leadoff singles, but Micah put them away with a groundout and two closing strikeouts, finally ending the four hour, 15 minute marathon with a 11-6 Tech victory. The Jackets had 14 hits to Auburn’s 13, but made 3 errors to Auburn’s 2. Jacket pitchers had eight K’s and five walks, while Tigers nine K’s to ten walks. Not a pitchers’ duel by any means. Hall led with three hits, while Webb, Austin Wilhite, Waddell, and Guldberg all had two.
Hughes got the win, Watson the loss, as the Jackets completed the season sweep of the Tigers, and now head to Blacksburg for a Thursday through Saturday series. Tech is 25-12, Auburn 24-13. Tech now has an RPI of No. 11.