It was not always an easy weekend, but the Tigers secured the sweep of Lipscomb with an eighth-inning three-run homer from Bryson Ware, sealing the final Sunday victory. Auburn moves to 9-1-1 as the non-conference slate rolls along this week.
The weekend began with the largest margin of the series for Auburn, a 7-3 victory led by three doubles and the 200th hit of Kason Howell's career as well as three pitchers combining for just three walks and 14 strikeouts.
"Great all the way around," head coach Butch Thompson said. "We had a 45-minute rain delay, and I thought our guys were ready to play and needed to be. It's back-to-back weeks where it felt like the Friday night was an SEC Friday night."
This was the third straight series-opening victory for the Tigers.
Howell went 3-of-5 at the plate, his first three-hit game of the year and his second consecutive game with two RBIs. His three doubles tied a career-high from last season's regional. This was his 200th career game.
"In the leadoff spot, you're always trying to create momentum for the offense," Howell said. "We've got so many good guys behind us. Just getting on base and letting those guys work behind me is really the most important thing, and just trying to not let that starter get settled in too good."
All three runs from the Bison on Friday came on a trio of solo home runs.
Saturday's matchup featured a bit more drama, as Auburn trailed 11-9 in the bottom of the eighth. Auburn had taken the first lead of the contest, but Lipscomb fired back with 10 runs in the first four innings, holding onto a 10-8 lead after the fourth.
In the bottom of the eighth, Bryson Ware hit his second home run of the series and his fourth in five games. The two-run shot brought Auburn to a tie, and then in the ninth, a walk from Caden Green, double from Kason Howell, an intentional walk for Cole Foster and a strikeout put all eyes on true freshman Ike Irish.
With the best batting average on the team and one of the best in the country, Irish delivered with a walk-off winner.
"I was thinking 'the bigger the moment, the softer and smaller I swing,'" Irish said. "I just thought, 'I've got to put a ball in play here, and good things happen.' I think you saw that. Credit to Bryson. We wouldn't be in that spot if he doesn't hit that two-run blast. Big hits by all of our team today. Go down the lineup one through nine, and we all contributed to that moment. We all did our jobs tonight."
Foster, Irish and Ware all registered three hits, and six players recorded at least two hits in the contest. This was Auburn's first walk-off since a 10-inning matchup with Alabama State last April.
The drama of Saturday night continued on Sunday with a low-scoring affair but another comeback win for the Tigers. It came down to the eighth inning once again, and Bryson Ware delivered. The senior hit his third home run of the series, a three-run shot to take a 4-3 lead heading into the ninth inning.
"They brought in their closer that had been effective, and I knew he threw a lot of changeups on the at-bats leading up to mine," Ware said. "I had in the back of my mind that he's probably going to throw a changeup. He left it up and right over the plate, and I just got enough of it to get it out."
For Ware, now batting .513, this was his only hit of the day, but it came when it mattered most.
Auburn's Sunday pitching staff bounced back from the high-scoring Saturday contest, holding the Bison to just three runs on six hits. John Armstrong made his sixth appearance of the year, and second of the series, earning the win after giving up one baserunner on an error in three innings pitch. He was followed by the trio of Zach Crotchfelt, Hayden Murphy and Parker Carlson.
"I wanted to play a game like this," Thompson said. "Don't get me wrong, I don't want our offense to slow down, but we desired a game like this where two freshmen could get you almost six innings. They hung in there."
Auburn will be back home again on Tuesday for another non-conference matchup, this time taking on UAB(3-7).
Don't miss out! Subscribe to our newsletter and get our top stories every weekday morning.