Skip to main content

Ike Irish’s multi-homer effort leads No. 14 Auburn over UConn

Justin Hokansonby:Justin Hokanson03/03/24


Courtesy of Auburn Athletics

AUBURN, Ala. – Ike Irish turned in his first career multi-homer game to lead No. 14 Auburn to an 8-2 win against UConn in the rubber game of the series Sunday afternoon at Plainsman Park.

“A series win against a great opponent, this was a great test for us and really revealed some areas where we need to continue to grow and work,” head coach Butch Thompson said. “I’m thankful for the win and thought the guys did a nice job competing.”

Irish went 3-for-3 in his last three at-bats, including a pair of two-out, two-run homers in his last two trips to the plate to extend the lead from two to four in the sixth and four to six in the eighth.

“I was just thinking about fighting with two strikes, and he left something over the plate. I did what I was supposed to do with a hanging breaking ball,” Irish said of his first homer in the sixth.

Freshman Cam Tilly (2-0, 2.25) was a bright spot on the mound, earning his second win of the season with a season-high 4.0 innings pitched. Tilly entered with a two-run lead in the fifth and held the Huskies to one run on three hits with one walk and two strikeouts.

“I think everything was kind of working,” Tilly said. “It was a close game, so I knew I just had to come in, put up zeroes and get our offense back out there. Just having the trust of these coaches really helped a lot.”

“That shows a lot of trust putting the ball in the hands of a true freshman in that situation,” Thompson added. “That was a 3-1 game and he pitched at game-time, so hopefully he takes a ton of confidence from that.”

Auburn (9-2) continued its season-opening streak of consecutive games with a home run with three more long balls Sunday, including a three-run homer from Deric Fabian in the first inning and the two in the late stages by Irish. The Tigers have now totaled 22 home runs in the first 11 games, the longest season-opening streak since at least 1979.

Carson Myers worked a clean first inning, and Auburn jumped out to a 3-0 lead on a three-run home run from Fabian in the bottom of the inning. The home run was Fabian’s second of the season and came after a two-out walk from Bobby Peirce and single from Cooper McMurray.

UConn (3-6) answered with a solo homer with one out in the second and threatened with the bases loaded and one out in the fourth. The runner from third tagged on a fly ball to right, but Peirce threw a one-hop strike to the plate and Irish applied the tag for the inning-ending double play. The outfield assist was Peirce’s second of the weekend and third of the season.

Tilly entered in relief of Myers to start the fifth, and the Huskies took advantage of a leadoff walk, but the freshman settled down and retired 10 of the last 11 batters he faced in his season-long outing.

Leading 3-2 in the sixth, the Tigers took advantage of a UConn fielding miscue to start the frame, and Chris Stanfield ultimately scored on throw behind to third that found its way into left field. With two outs and facing an 0-2 count, Irish then sat on a breaking ball and launched it onto the Back Forty Deck in right center to extend the lead to 6-2.

Two innings later, the sophomore stepped to the plate again with two out and this time deposited a 1-1 fastball over the visitor’s bullpen to make it an 8-2 game. The home run was Irish’s team-high fifth of the season, and his four RBI in the game matched a season high. Seven of Auburn’s eight runs in the game came with two strikes.

Will Cannon finished his third game of the season and closed the door on the series win.

The Tigers continue the nine-game homestand with a double-midweek vs. Air Force (4-6) Tuesday at Wednesday at Plainsman Park. First pitches in the midweek are set to be announced Monday.

You may also like