June 5, 2005
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – Three errors in the first two innings by fourth-seeded Army helped No. 2 seed Auburn to a 12-3 victory as the Tigers advanced in the Tallahassee Regional of the NCAA Baseball Tournament on Sunday (June 5) in front of 1,837 fans at Florida State’s Dick Howser Stadium. Auburn moves on to face top seed FSU at 7 p.m. on Sunday night.
Auburn improved to 34-25 on the year as it prepares to play Florida State for the fifth time this season. Army concluded the best campaign in school history – which included its first victory in the NCAA Tournament – at 39-14 overall.
By virtue of Florida State’s 4-3 victory over Auburn Saturday night, the Tigers must beat the Seminoles twice – once Sunday then again Monday evening – in order to advance to the Super Regional. The winner of the Tallahassee Regional will meet the winner of the Gainesville Regional next weekend.
Going five innings for just his second win of the year was Auburn’s Cliff Mullins. Making his eighth start of the year, Mullins improved to 2-2 as he gave up no runs on two hits while issuing three walks and striking out five on 76 pitches. Army starter Cole White lost his first game of the year as his ledger dropped to 7-1. He gave up nine runs, five earned, on nine hits with two walks, two strikeouts on 90 pitches in 4 2/3 innings of work.
“Cliff did a tremendous job,” Auburn head coach Tom Slater said. “He came out there and commanded the strike zone. His change-up worked very well today. His breaking ball was good, his fastball to spots. He commanded three pitches and did a nice job and let his defense work and I’m very proud of Cliff.”
Auburn wasted no time in getting on the scoreboard as it produced two runs in the bottom of the first inning. Leadoff hitter Tyler Johnstone started the frame with a single, advanced to third on a double by Clete Thomas and scored on a ground out by Josh Bell. Thomas crossed home plate, after stealing his 25th base of the year, when Army first baseman Walker Gorham couldn’t handle a ground ball from Russell Dixon.
Three more unearned runs scored in the second following an error by Black Knights’ shortstop Kyle Scogin. Bruce Edwards started with a single then one out later Derek Sain’s grounder was misplayed by Scogin. Johnstone’s second single in as many innings plated Edwards then Bell drove in his second and third runs of the afternoon with a single to score Sain and Johnstone.
The Tigers doubled their run total with a five-spot in the fifth inning. Adding to the Tigers’ total was a two-run home run by Edwards. The sophomore belted the first home run of his career after Josh Donaldson started the two-out rally with a double. Adam Stacey and Sain followed with singles then Johnstone delivered his fourth single of the game to score Stacey. Thomas cleared the bases with a triple to make it a 10-0 game.
Following a 42-minute weather delay, Auburn got a run in the sixth off Army reliever Ben Mayhew as Jeff Boutwell belted a solo home run to right center field. Sain blasted his first home run of the year, taking a Mayhew offering over the right field wall.
The Black Knights got on the board with their first run of the afternoon in the top of the eighth inning. Jason Meloy lead off the frame with a double, then came around to score on another two-bagger by Schuyler Williamson. Back-to-back four pitch walks loaded the bases for Jeremy Stache who delivered a two-run single.
“I’d like to congratulate Auburn,” Army head coach Joe Sottolano said. “Looking at that team, they had an opportunity to fold coming into today after a heart felt loss last night, losing their first baseman who is a significant impact player. They had a lot to be depressed about and then turned around and kept their composure and really played well. From our end, obviously we are not pleased with the outcome but we have a lot to be thankful and grateful for and we’ll put it in our memory box and hope to be back some day.”
Every player in the Auburn starting line-up reached base at least once with eight of the nine collecting at least one hit. Thompson led the way with four hits and crossed the plate three times, while Bell drove in three runs. Auburn has had at least ten hits all four games during the regional.