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March 16, 2013

Offensive woes continue for the Tigers

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Second-ranked Vanderbilt took a no-hitter into the sixth inning for the second-straight game against Auburn, and the Tigers could only muster one run even after chasing Vanderbilt starting pitcher Tyler Beede (5-0) out of the game on their way to a 8-1 loss on Saturday.

Beede didn't give up a hit until the sixth inning, but he was hardly in control. He issued six walks and labored through his outing, throwing 120 pitches.

Auburn (13-5, 0-2 SEC) only got four hits but walked nine times. The Tigers got a lead-off walk in five different innings. The lone run appropriately came on a bases-loaded walk in the eighth inning.

"It's a little frustrating," head coach John Pawlowski said. "I know the guys are frustrated. We had nine free bases today and had guys in scoring position. Just unfortunately weren't able to come up with a big hit in that situation."

The Tigers' struggles at the plate spoiled a decent start by Michael O'Neal (4-1), who went six innings and gave up three earned runs on three hits.

"Every time out, he's given us a chance," Pawlowski said. "Another very good outing for him. Unfortunately we weren't able to give him any type of support."

Vanderbilt (18-2, 2-0 SEC) struck first with a two-run fifth inning. Rhett Wiseman tripled home a run, and Joel McKeithan added a sac-fly to give Vandy a 2-0 lead.

"The first three innings it looked like they were kind of just of trying to pull everything," O'Neal said. "And after that fourth inning they started going away more. That's where I gotta adjust and come back in."

Conner Kendrick came in for O'Neal with no outs in the sixth inning. Kendrick, who hadn't pitched since the Alabama game, gave up two runs on three hits and a walk in 1 1/3 innings.

Auburn had its best chance in the eighth inning. The Tigers had the bases loaded, but Vanderbilt brought in closer Brian Miller to face Kody Ortman and got him to fly out to center field for the innings final out, stranding three runners. In all, Auburn left 12 men on base.

Vanderbilt added three more runs in the ninth inning and Miller got his sixth save of the season, as the Commodores capped off an 8-1 win and clinched the series.

Auburn looks to get its first conference win against Vanderbilt Sunday at 1 p.m.

"You always want to find a way to come out of the first weekend with a win," Pawlowski said. "Tomorrow's a great opportunity for us, you don't want to pass up on that."



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