AUBURN, Ala. - Auburn split Friday's doubleheader against Texas A&M, winning game one 10-9 before falling in game two and the series finale 12-6 at Plainsman Park.
"I thought our position players played as hard as they possibly could for two games," Auburn coach Butch Thompson said. "We have to think about what's the one thing we can do to make things better from a pitching standpoint. We have to start making some strides quickly."
Cooper McMurray homered twice in game one and drove in six runs in the two games to highlight the day. Kason Howell, Chris Stanfield and Bryson Ware each tallied a team-high three hits in the doubleheader.
Ware extended his career-best hitting streak to 16 games and reached base streak to 33 games dating back to his final appearance a season ago.
Texas A&M struck first with a three-run homer in the top of the first inning, but McMurray evened the score at 3-3 with his own three-run shot to right in the bottom of the first, scoring Bobby Peirce and Ware, who both singled.
Stanfield singled home Howell, then Carter Wright plated Stanfield with a single, giving the Tigers five two-out runs and a 5-3 lead after batting around in the opening inning. Howell's double was the 62nd of his career, third most in program history.
Auburn added three runs in the third to lead 8-3 when Ware scored on a wild pitch, Stanfield's double plated Howell and Carter Wright's sacrifice fly scored Stanfield.
Auburn turned three double plays in the first four innings, ending the first, third and fourth frames with twin killings.
After the Aggies scored twice in the top of the fourth, McMurray put the Tigers ahead 9-5 when he led off the bottom of the fifth with a towering blast that landed on the roof of the Player Development Center beyond right field, his second homer of the game.
The Aggies pulled within two at 9-7 scoring a pair of runs on Laviolette's second homer of the game in the top of the sixth.
John Armstrong relieved Christian Herberholz with two outs in the inning, stranding the tying runs in scoring position by striking out Austin Bost.
Auburn answered in the bottom of the sixth when Caden Green led off with a single and scored on Cole Foster's double to the gap in left-center for a 10-7 Tigers lead.
Armstrong struck out the side in the top of the seventh, pitching around two walks, then stranded two more Aggies in the eighth to preserve the Tigers' three-run lead.
Texas A&M scored two runs in the ninth and threatened to tie before Stanfield threw out a runner at the plate for the second out, then caught a line drive with the bases loaded for the final out.
Auburn won despite issuing 13 walks, stranding 12 Aggie baserunners.
Tommy Vail started and worked the first 3.1 innings before Herberholz pitched the next 2.1. Armstrong (6-1) earned the win, striking out five in 2.1 innings. Chase Allsup recorded the first out of the ninth inning before Parker Carlson got the final two outs to earn his first save.
After Texas A&M loaded the bases with nobody out on a single and two walks to start the game, Auburn starter Tommy Sheehan (0-1) nearly worked out of the jam with two strikeouts and a near third on a check swing. However, the Aggies scored three runs on a bases-loaded walk and two-RBI singles.
The Tigers answered with two runs on a RBI single from Ware and sacrifice fly from McMurray in the bottom of the first, but Texas A&M added to its lead with four runs in the second and another in the third.
Auburn matched Texas A&M's four runs in the second with four of its own in the third. Peirce scored on a wild pitch, before McMurray drove in Irish on a ground ball to short. Howell's second double of the day made it 8-5, and Stanfield singled back up the middle to make it a two-run game.
Hayden Murphy entered at the end of the second and settled the game down until the fifth inning, when the Aggies added three runs to extend the lead to 11-6. All three runs came with two outs on a single, double and wild pitch.
Drew Nelson entered to end the fifth and faced the minimum in the sixth and seventh innings to give the Tigers a chance. However, the offense managed three hits in its last six innings at the plate.
Murphy pitched a season-high 3.0 innings in relief, and Nelson turned in 2.1 scoreless out of the bullpen before another fellow freshman in Zach Crotchfelt worked the final two frames.
Texas A&M capped off the scoring with an unearned run on a single, stolen bases and a pair of errors in the top of the eighth.
Auburn (19-12-1, 4-8 SEC) hits the road for four games next week, starting with a midweek matchup at Georgia Tech (19-13, 7-8 ACC) Tuesday at 5 p.m. CT.