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March 2, 2013

Auburn cruises

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AUBURN | Looking to bounce back from a Friday loss against Eastern Illinois, Auburn fought off snow flurries and a mid-game surge by the Panthers to win 14-7 Saturday and evened the weekend series.

"It was very important for us," Auburn coach John Pawlowski said. "I think the mindset of this team was that we needed to continue to find ways to score, continue to find ways to put teams away when they jump back into it."

The Tigers jumped out to a 8-1 lead with back-to-back, three-run innings and saw lead-off hitter Justin Burgreen hit one out of the park for the first time this season.

Cullen Wacker finished a home run short of the cycle after producing a RBI double and triple and adding a single later in the game.

"I had a good batting practice before the game and came out and was able to execute swings on good pitches," Wacker said. "I was able to handle pitches in the zone."

Jordan Ebert went 3-for-4 and started an eighth-inning rally with a double.

"Being able to put together hit after hit after hit, stringing them together," Wacker said. "That was a big part of the offensive today. We were able to execute and that is what we want to do every time we go out there."

EIU didn't have a hit between the first and fourth innings, though the Panthers scored three off starting pitcher Michael O'Neal in the fifth.

Left-handed pitcher Conner Kendrick squelched the Eastern Illinois surge by allowing only one hit through the three innings. He earned the save.

With the temperature in Plainsman Park dropping to 36 degrees and winds gusting, scoring wasn't expected to be a theme. Auburn, though, managed to make things work.

"Those are tough elements to play in. You look at the errors and the walks and our guys did a good job," Pawlowski said.

The Tigers are hoping to win the series with a win Sunday afternoon. That game starts at 1 p.m.

"After yesterday's game we were a little down. We put the ball back in our court with a win and just get some motivation behind that," Kendrick said.



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