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March 9, 2013

O'Neal tosses complete-game shutout


Michael O'Neal allowed six hits and walked two in a complete game shutout as the Auburn baseball team defeated Brown, 6-0, on Saturday afternoon. The win improved Auburn's record to 11-3 while Brown fell to 1-5.

"That is the first complete game shutout I have thrown. In JUCO I always seemed to give up one run in the ninth," O'Neal said.

"I didn't have a very good bullpen before the game. I didn't have any idea where the ball was going, but I looked at (student manager Cameron) Blinka and said I was going to do really well today because if I am really good in there I am really bad out here. I just knew something was going to happen for me."

O'Neal (4-0), a junior college transfer, walked one in the first and one in the fifth and scattered Brown's first three hits over the first eight innings. Four times he set the side down in order and the lefty finished with a career-high six strike outs.

"(O'Neal) is that type of pitcher, he has a little different look, and his ball runs around so much. Not many guys squared up his fastball today," Auburn Head Coach John Pawlowski said. The complete game shutout was the first by an Auburn pitcher since Derek Varnadore, also a product of Chattahoochee Valley Community College, went the distance in a 3-0 win over Georgia on May 7, 2011.

While O'Neal was keeping the Brown hitters off the base paths, Auburn's offense cranked out 10 hits off of Brown starter Dave St. Lawrence (0-1) and reliever Lucas Whitehill. Ryan Tella was 2-for-3 with a walk and a pair of runs scored while Garrett Cooper was 2-for-4 with two RBI.

Jordan Ebert extended his hitting streak to 12 games with a lead-off single in the third while Damek Tomscha was 1-for-3 with a double and two RBI and has now been on base in all 14 games.

Auburn went up 3-0 in the third as Ebert singled and scored on a Dan Glevenyak single, Jackson Burgreen doubled and scored on a Tomscha fielder's choice and Glevenyak scored on a Cullen Wacker sac fly.

Auburn extended the lead to 4-0 in the fifth when Tella singled, went to second on a wild pitch and scored on a Cooper single.

Auburn closed out the scoring in the seventh when Tomscha doubled in Tella and Cooper drove in Tomscha.

With the win, Pawlowski tied Steve Renfroe (2001-04) for the third-most wins by an Auburn coach with 145.

Auburn will try for the series sweep at noon on Sunday. Starting on the mound for Auburn will be right-hander Rocky McCord (1-0, 4.63 ERA) while Brown will start righty Kevin Carlow (0-1, 5.14 ERA).

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