Auburn Suffers First Defeat of Season to UCF
SOURCE: AUBURN ATHLETICS
No. 8 Auburn lost its first game of the season, dropping a 3-1 decision in the series opener against UCF Friday afternoon at Plainsman Park.
“They shortened the game on us today, and we saw real stuff for nine innings,” head coach Butch Thompson said. “We didn’t have a lot of opportunities to do anything. They get some guys on base, and their two strike approach was better than ours. They wind up moving the ball around, getting a couple of hits, and bunching it together to get the lead. Getting back in this series will be about making adjustments in a quick manner.”
Ryan Bliss lead the way for the Tigers with three hits and two stolen bases, while Matt Scheffler scored the team’s lone run with a home run in the bottom of the second inning. The game marked Bliss’ fifth multi-hit effort of the season, including his second straight with three or more hits.
Tanner Burns (1-1, 4.35) and Cody Greenhill combined to pitch all nine innings. Burns suffered his first loss, allowing three runs (two earned) on six hits with one walk and seven strikeouts in 5.1 innings. Greenhill held the Knights scoreless in 3.2 innings of relief and struck out three.
The game marked Auburn’s sixth straight with 10 or more strikeouts to start the season. It’s the longest stretch since opening the 1997 season with seven consecutive double digit strikeout efforts.
Scheffler’s home run over the wall in left field got Auburn out to an early lead in the bottom of the second. However, that’s all the offense would manage in the loss. The home run was Scheffler’s first of the season and third of his career.
UCF took the lead with two runs on three hits and an error in the top of the fourth and extended its advantage to the eventual final with a solo home run in the sixth.
After turning the second double play of the game in the top of the eighth, Auburn threatened in the home half after Judd Ward and Bliss started the frame with back-to-back hits. However, both were stranded in scoring position.
Auburn and UCF will turn around to play in game two tomorrow at 2 p.m. CT.