May 23, 2018
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Tomscha home run in ninth lifts Auburn past University of Maine in opener


AUBURN, Ala. — Damek Tomscha hit a solo home run to lead off the bottom of the ninth inning Friday evening, lifting Auburn University to a 3-2 baseball victory over the University of Maine in the teams’ mutual season opener.

Tomscha’s blast came against Black Bears reliever Shaun Coughlin, who had pitched a scoreless eighth inning.

Tomscha also hit an RBI single to cap Auburn’s two-run sixth inning.

Junior transfer Tommy Lawrence had a strong UMaine debut. The righthander scattered seven hits and two runs over seven innings. He struck out four, walked two and hit a batter.

Junior Colin Gay paced the Black Bears’ offense with two doubles. That included a game-tying RBI double in the seventh.

Gay also stroked a two-out double to right in the ninth inning, but was left stranded.

UMaine also received a run-scoring single in the second inning from Mike Connolly. Sam Balzano of Portland doubled and scored a run and Alex Calbick added a double.

Jackson Burgreen doubled twice and scored a run among nine hits for the Tigers. Blake Austin added two singles.

Auburns’s bullpen came through, keeping the Bears off the board over the last 1 1/3 innings. Terrance Dedrick faced only one batter, striking out Eric White in the ninth, to earn the win.

The Bears grabbed a 1-0 lead in the second inning. Scott Heath reached on an error by the shortstop and raced to third when Calbick doubled to right-center.

Fran Whitten was hit by pitch and, one out later, Connolly delivered an RBI single to left.

The Tigers finally got on the scoreboard against Lawrence in the sixth inning.

Burgreen led off with a double to right-center, advanced on a sacrifice bunt and scored one out later on Garrett Cooper’s double down the line in left. Tomscha followed with a run-producing single to left to make it 2-1.

UMaine equalized in the seventh inning when Balzano rapped a one-out double down the left-field line and rode home on Gay’s double to left-center.

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