MOBILE, Ala. - No. 17 Auburn jumped out to an early lead and never looked back as the Tigers defeated South Alabama, 6-2, Tuesday night at Stanky Field.
Auburn improved to 15-2 with the win, marking the first time in program history the Tigers have started 15-2 or better in back-to-back seasons. The win was also the team's 10th straight, which is tied for the fourth longest winning streak since 2000.
The victory was Auburn's third straight against South Alabama, marking the first time since 2006-07 the Tigers have won three straight games in the series.
"This is great for our guys to have to stand on the field in our road uniforms and have to try to battle in this environment," head coach Butch Thompson said. "That UCF series was really good, and this is another good road trip against a traditional program that makes us better by playing them."
Freshman left-hander Garrett Wade (3-0, 0.95) made his second straight midweek start and earned his third win of the season. He allowed one run on two hits with one walk and eight strikeouts in 5.0 innings pitched.
As a staff, Auburn struck out 16 batters. It marked the team's 12th game this season with double-digit strikeouts and fourth contest with 15 or more.
"He'll be fighting for efficiency," Thompson said of Wade. "Being a young pitcher, throwing a lot of pitches, but he made a lot of pitches. He finished his outing. Nobody had to come bail him out."
Auburn wasted no time in getting on the scoreboard as Conor Davis stepped to the plate with the bases loaded in the first inning and laced a two-RBI single through the left side.
The Tigers doubled the lead an inning later when Steven Williams drove in a run on a groundout up the middle and Matt Scheffler later came in to score as Rankin Woley put some pressure on the Jaguars on the base paths and a throw to second went into center field.
Wade struck out the side in the second inning and fanned five of the first eight batters he faced. He ultimately matched a season-high in both strikeouts and innings pitched.
"My fastball command was a lot better tonight than it has been in the past," Wade said. "That was huge, especially since South Alabama did a good job laying off my slider early in the count. Just the offense coming out and putting up runs early, knowing I got to pitch with the lead was huge."
South Alabama got on the scoreboard with a solo home run in the bottom of the fourth, marking the team's first hit of the game.
The Tigers got the run back and added another two innings later when Davis came home to score on a sacrifice fly from Kason Howell, and Judd Ward ripped a RBI triple into left-center field.
Kyle Gray took the mound in the sixth in relief of Wade and turned in 2.0 scoreless innings before giving up a solo home run to start the eighth. The home run was the only hit Gray allowed. He struck out two and walked one.
Elliott Anderson then made his team high seventh relief appearance of the season and pitched the final 2.0 innings in scoreless fashion. The Cartersville, Georgia, native recorded all six of his outs via the strikeout.
Offensively, Davis collected a pair of hits and drove in a pair. Williams reached base with a walk in the first innings and extended his on-base streak to 23 games, tying Dylan Ingram for the longest since 2017.
Auburn opens Southeastern Conference play with a three-game series vs. No. 21 Tennessee (16-1) Friday through Sunday at Plainsman Park.