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Fitts turns to gem when Tigers reaches series in Missouri





Fitts turns to gem when Tigers reaches series in Missouri
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COLUMBIA, Mon. – Auburn appetizer Richard Fitts turned in a career-best 8.0 shutout innings when Auburn reached the series in Missouri with a 3-0 victory Friday-evening at Taylor Stadium.

The win marks Auburn’s first shutout of SEC play, and Fitts’ 8.0 innings were the most by an Auburn-starter since Jack Owen’s full game shutout against UTSA on March 8. 9, 2019.

“Two of his last three starts have been great,” said head coach Butch Thompson said of Fitts. “The LSU start, we looked at that more, but we got a different level of things, especially when we needed it.”

The win was also Auburn’s fifth in the last six SEC games dating back to May 8.

“Everything turns around tonight Richard Fitts outsmart a man we knew was probably their best, “added Thomspon.” Fitts said this is my game. ”

Fitts (1-3, 5.88) retired the first 14 batters he faced before giving up a two-out single in the fifth. Then he put down the next 10 to end up seeing just one over the minimum on his outing. His seven strikeouts were a season-high.

“I felt really good,” said Fitts. “ My game plan that came in was just to smash the attack zone and let them hit it. I thought I did that right, and I know the guys got my back behind me. I thought I was doing well and gave my team a chance to win. ”

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Carson skipper came in to start the ninth and allowed the first three Missouri-batters to reach base on a few basehits and a walk. However, Skipper nodded to get a strikeout and double play to the ground to end the game and earn his second save.

Auburn (25-25, 10-19 SEC) started scoring in the top half of the first axis Tyler Miller won a nine-pitch at bat with a double to the right and came in to score on an error in the field in Missouri.

With the early lead, Fitts retired five of the first 10 batters he faced and needed only 63 pitches to get through 4.2 hitless innings.

Missouri (14-36, 7-22 SEC) put its first baserunner on board on the aforementioned two-out single, but Fitts got the next batter deep right to end the inning.

After working around the first baserunner, Ryan Bliss followed Bryson Ware’s one-out single with a two-out, two-run homer to left field to increase the lead to 3-0. The home run was Bliss’ 14th of the season, including his 10th SEC game. He has driven seven runs in the first two games of the series.

“He had really good things,” Bliss said of Missouri starter Seth Halvorsen. “Later in the game, after the first few at bats, he went to his soft stuff, so I sat on it a bit. I got one that hung a bit and put a good swing on it.”

Leading 3-0 en route to the bottom of the sixth, Fitts retired nine times in a row in his last three innings before giving way to Skipper. The junior lefty eventually closed the door when he caused a 4-6-3 double play – the team’s 53rd of the season – to end the game. It was Skipper’s fourth consecutive appearance, either the win or a save.

Game three between the two teams is scheduled for Saturday at 2 p.m. CT.

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