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Bliss makes college debut

By KEVIN ECKLEBERRY

Daily News

AUBURN, Ala. – It was Kason Howell who earned the post-game accolades after walking with the bases loaded to drive in the winning run in Auburn’s 13-inning, 4-3 victory over Georgia Southern on Sunday afternoon.

Moments before Howell ended the marathon game with his four-pitch walk, though, it was Ryan Bliss who loaded the bases with a hard-earned walk of his own.

Faced with a two-strike count, Bliss didn’t have the luxury of taking a close pitch.

Bliss, showing the keen eye that helped make him such a dangerous hitter for the Troup Tigers, took a two-strike pitch for a walk to fil the bases.

Howell then watched four consecutive pitches sail out of the strike zone, bringing Edouard Julien home with the winning run.

That play put a lid on a three-game series that featured a pair of 13-inning games.

Auburn won the series opener 11-2 on Friday, and Georgia Southern bounced back for a 7-5 win in Saturday’s 13-inning game.

With Bliss coming through with some key plays at the plate, and in the field from his second-base position, Auburn took the series finale on Sunday.

Bliss, making his college debut after a remarkable prep career at Troup, started all three of the weekend games at second base.

In Friday’s win, Bliss had an RBI triple, and he also had a walk.

Bliss was hitless in Saturday’s game, although he did have a sacrifice.

In Sunday’s game, Bliss was hitless in his first four at-bats before reaching on a base hit in the 11th inning.

Bliss got a great jump and stole second, but he was left stranded.

Two innings later Bliss was back at the plate with two men on, and he worked his way on for the one-out walk.

Bliss also excelled in the field in Sunday’s game.

He cleanly fielded every ball that was hit to him, and he also made an outstanding turn on a double play in the top of the 13th.

The throw to second was a bit off-target, and Bliss reached down to make the catch, and he popped back up and threw a strike to first base to complete the double play.

Auburn had an easier time of it on Tuesday in a 10-1 win over Alabama A&M.

Bliss had a hit, a walk and two RBIs, and he scored two runs.

OF NOTE: For more photos from Sunday’s game, check out Facebook.com/LDNSports