Auburn sweeps DH vs. Mizzou, earns 7th straight SEC win
AUBURN, Ala. - Bryson Ware belted two of the Tigers' five home runs and No. 19 Auburn held Missouri scoreless for 14 innings Friday to sweep a doubleheader and secure the team's fifth consecutive SEC series win for the first time since 2010.
Auburn has won seven straight Southeastern Conference games for the first time since winning nine in a row in April 1995.
With the wins, Auburn (32-19-1, 16-13) Auburn secured a winning record in SEC play for the fourth time in the past six seasons under head coach Butch Thompson. Prior to Thompson's 2016 arrival, the Tigers finished .500 or better in league play just once in 12 seasons between 2004-15.
It's the first time Auburn has posted back-to-back winning SEC seasons since doing so four straight years from 1997-2000.
"It's a good mark of consistency and program growth," Thompson said. "You can see it in the crowds, you can see it with the players. That's the kind of consistency you want for the program. This is a hard league."
Starting pitchers Chase Allsup and Konner Copeland earned victories, combining to throw 12.1 innings with 12 strikeouts while allowing only one earned run.
Seeking its eighth consecutive conference victory, Auburn hosts Missouri Saturday at 1 p.m. CT, an hour earlier than originally scheduled because of increased rain in the forecast in the early evening.
GAME ONE RECAP
Missouri's first two batters reached in the top of the first but Chase Allsup recorded three straight strikeouts to end the inning, the beginning of a string of six consecutive retired hitters.
After a leadoff single, Allsup held Mizzou hitless until a one-out single in the fifth. Allsup (1-1) struck out seven in seven scoreless innings, both career highs, allowing only three hits to earn his first victory.
"The mindset was go out there and give our guys as many innings I can, knowing that we have a doubleheader," Allsup said. "Being able to get those seven innings in and hand the ball off to Tanner, it put us in a good spot for that second game."
Auburn struggled the first time through the order against Missouri starter Chandler Murphy (4-5), going 0-for-9 with four strikeouts.
Back-to-back one-out singles by Cole Foster and Bobby Peirce and a four-pitch Cooper McMurray walk loaded the bases in the bottom of the fourth but a strikeout and a flyout ended Auburn's threat.
Kason Howell led off the fifth with an infield single, advanced to second on a sacrifice bunt and scored on Chris Stanfield's two-out single to give Auburn a 1-0 lead.
Bryson Ware and Ike Irish blasted back-to-back home runs in the bottom of the sixth, Ware's 20th and No. 6 for Irish and his third straight game in which to homer, extending Auburn's lead to 3-0.
Tanner Bauman relieved Allsup in the eighth, retiring Missouri in order in the eighth and facing the minimum in the ninth to earn his first save.
Auburn loaded the bases with one out in the bottom of the eighth on two HBPs and a walk, with Irish plating Peirce on a fielder's choice to put the home Tigers in front 4-0.
The victory gave Auburn six consecutive SEC wins for the first time since March 16-29, 2003.
GAME TWO RECAP
Chris Stanfield led off the bottom of the first with a single and scored on Cole Foster's double to give Auburn an early 1-0 lead.
Leading off the bottom of the fourth, Cooper McMurray doubled Auburn's advantage with a towering home run to right, his 14th of the season.
Bryson Ware followed with a single, advanced to second on an error, to third on a sacrifice fly and scored on Caden Green's two-out single to put Auburn ahead 3-0.
Cole Foster homered in the fifth to give Auburn a 4-0 lead.
After Missouri's first two batters of the game reached base, Konner Copeland set down 16 of the next 17 while sailing through five scoreless innings, exiting after a one-out single in the sixth.
Copeland (4-1) earned the victory, allowing one earned run in 5.1 innings while striking out five.
"We all did it today," Copeland said. "When you come out and have a good outing, it sets up the next pitcher to have some confidence. Right now we have the whole staff rolling. It's been a tremendous help to the program."
The visiting Tigers ended Auburn's shutout streak at 14.1 innings when Luke Mann greeted reliever Chase Isbell with a two-run home run to center to make it 4-2 in the top of the sixth.
Auburn responded with three runs in the bottom of the frame. Ware's 21st homer tied him with Frank Thomas and Josh Etheredge for fifth most in program history, two behind Hunter Morris' single-season record.
"A really cool milestone and a select few I get to join," said Ware of reaching the 20-homer club. "I try to keep my head away from it as much as possible. I try to stay in my approach, stay short, not try to do too much and thankfully I was able to do that a couple times today."
Ike Irish reached on an error and moved to third on Kason Howell's 71st career double, tying Howell with Todd Faulkner for the most in Auburn history.
Irish scored on a passed ball, then Carter Wright drove home Howell with a single up the middle to put the home Tigers on top 7-2 after six innings.
Zach Crotchfelt pitched scoreless seventh and eighth innings, striking out four. Will Cannon retired the visitors in order in the ninth to close out the victory.