No. 10 Auburn finished the first half of conference play with a big road series win.
Davis Daniel threw eight shutout innings and the Tigers hit two home runs in a 8-1 victory over Tennessee in the rubber game of the series Saturday afternoon at Davis Wade Stadium.
Auburn improves to 27-11 overall and 10-5 in the SEC. The Tigers have won 8-of-9 series including 4-of-5 in the SEC.
“I just thought our team was loose and confident at the beginning because we’ve been through this so much,” Auburn coach Butch Thompson said. “I thought before the game that we’d play well today if Davis could get off to a good start.
“Maybe our best played game on the road as a complete effort.”
Wade Rackley/Auburn athletics
Daniel (3-2) held the Volunteers to three hits, struck out five and issued three walks in a career-high 8.0 innings.
“That’s as good as any start we’ve had this year,” Thompson said. “He’s been money for us a couple of game threes. Davis Daniel was special today.”
After throwing 45 pitches in the first two innings, Daniel needed just 56 pitches to retire the Vols for the next six innings. He allowed just one hit after the third inning.
“Really just getting the fastball down in the zone, getting a lot of ground balls, my guys turned a few double plays behind me and making some big plays. Contact early was big,” Daniel said. “The main goal was just to come out and throw a lot of strikes.”
Bo Decker hit his first-career home run in the fifth, a solo shot over the left field wall, and Dylan Ingram crushed a three-run home run over the left field wall in the seventh.
After hitting 10 home runs in its first 34 games, Auburn hit five in four games this week.
Jonah Todd was 4-of-5 with two runs scored and one RBI and Jay Estes 2-of-5 with three runs scored. Daniel Robert and Conor Davis drove in one run apiece.
“The offense did so good, top to bottom we’re competing, but Jonah Todd back up in the top seemed like a catalyst for us,” Thompson said. “He had a great day and set the table for us. A couple of our guys got the ball up and got it out of the yard and that was the difference today.”
Tennessee’s lone run came in the bottom of the ninth on a solo home run by Jordan Rodgers off Ryan Watson. The Vols fall to 18-15 overall and 4-11 in the SEC.
Auburn plays at Kennesaw State Tuesday night to conclude an eight-game road trip, and returns to conference play next weekend as No. 19 Arkansas visits Plainsman Park for a three-game series beginning Friday.