Freshman fuels Tigers' victory

AUBURN – Trey Wingenter worked and waited for his opportunity. When it came Tuesday night, he was ready.

Auburn coach John Pawlowski was pleased with his young pitchers.

Wingenter, a 6-foot-7 freshman right-hander from Bob Jones High School in Madison, gave up three hits and one run in five innings of work as Auburn beat Alabama State 10-2 at Plainsman Park. Wingenter, who had previously pitched only a single inning against Kennesaw State on Feb. 26, earned his first college win.

The wait wasn’t always easy for Wingenter, who was chosen by the Seattle Mariners in the 36th round of last year’s major league baseball draft.

“You just have to fight through it, keep doing your and work and get better,” Wingenter said. “Then you have to take advantage when you get your chance.”

Wingenter did just that, and Auburn coach John Pawlowski was happy.

“He’s been working hard, waiting for his opportunity,” Pawlowski said. “He’s one of those guys we feel like is going to be a big part of what we are doing. He had a tremendous presence and carried himself like he wanted to be out there.”

Will Kendall, continuing his comeback from Tommy John surgery, started and pitched two innings. He gave up three hits and a run.

“He was able to go out there for back-to-back innings,” Pawlowski said. “That’s the big thing. It certainly continued to move him forward. We are trying to follow the script Dr. (James) Andrews has laid out. As long as he is feeling well, we will keep running him out there.”

Matt Schultz, another true freshman, finished up for the Tigers, giving up one hit in two scoreless innings.

Tuesday’s win didn’t take away the bitter taste of the weekend, but it was what the Tigers needed as they moved on.

After falling behind 1-0, the Tigers scored two in the second, four in the fourth and fourth in the seventh to win 10-2 and keep their all-time record against the Hornets perfect at 6-0.

Coming off a disappointing weekend sweep at the hands of No. 2 Vanderbilt, the Tigers bounced back to win for the eighth time in 11 games. They improved to 14-6 on the season and will play Southern Mississippi in Mobile on Wednesday night. Alabama State fell to 14-8.

Cullen Wacker was 3-for-4 with two doubles. Blake Austin was 2-for-3 with a double and two RBI Garrett Cooper and Ryan Tella also each had two of the Tigers 13 hits.

Alabama State took a 1-0 lead in the top of the second when Walyvan Estrada hit a towering home run over the left field fence. But the Tigers dominated the game from there.

Pawlowski said sophomore Trey Cochran-Gill will get the start Wednesday night against USM.

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