The Leadoff Hitter, Auburn vs. Arkansas: Game times, probable starters, weather forecasts and more

Bruce Thorson-US PRESSWIRE

The Tigers close out the regular season against the Razorbacks.

The final weekend of the regular season is here, as Auburn plays host to Arkansas at Plainsman Park. Believe it or not, the Tigers still have a chance to play their way into the NCAA Tournament, something that seemed impossible after the series loss at Missouri three weeks ago. If they can win their third straight SEC series, their odds will only increase.

Last weekend

Auburn 7, Florida 4

Auburn's offensive hot streak continued, as the Tigers hit two doubles and two home runs to extend their winning streak to five.

Florida 5, Auburn 4

Michael O'Neal was one out away from a complete game, 5-1 win. But then he gave up a three-run shot, and Reid Carter came on and allowed the winning run to score.

Auburn 4, Florida 1

The Tigers showed a ton of moxie to bounce back from Saturday night's rough loss. Ryan Tella hit his second three-run homer of the series to provide the winning margin.

Midweek

Jacksonville State 6, Auburn 1

Needing all the wins they can get, the Tigers dropped a winnable home game to the Gamecocks. If Auburn barely misses the NCAA Tournament, this game will play a role.

No.11 Arkansas(34-17, 17-9)
at Auburn (31-20, 11-16)

Probable starters

Thursday, 6 p.m. CT

LHP Conner Kendrick (4-3, 2.25 ERA) vs. RHP Barrett Astin (4-3, 2.21 ERA)

Friday, 6 p.m. CT

LHP Michael O'Neal (8-3, 2.85 ERA) vs. RHP Ryne Stanek (7-2, 1.70 ERA)

Saturday, 1 p.m. CT

TBA vs. RHP Randall Fant (5-1, 2.00 ERA)

Weather forecast

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Individual stats

Auburn Arkansas
Batting average Garrett Cooper, .360 Brian Anderson, .339
On-base percentage Garrett Cooper, .477 Brian Anderson, .447
Runs Ryan Tella, 41 Brian Anderson, 40
RBIs Ryan Tella, 37 Tyler Spoon, 43
Doubles Three players with 12 Brian Anderson, 10
Triples Five players with 1 Brian Anderson, 4
Home runs Cooper and Damek Tomscha, 7 Anderson and Spoon, 4
Stolen bases Ryan Tella, 13-of-15 Matt Vinson, 8-of-9
Errors Dan Glevenyak, 15 Brian Anderson, 20
Starting ERA Conner Kendrick, 2.25 Ryne Stanek, 1.70
Relief ERA Justin Camp, 2.13 Tyler Wright, 0.00
Starting BA against Michael O'Neal, .228 Randall Fant, .200
Relief BA against Reid Carter, .212 Michael Gunn, .114
Strikeouts Conner Kendrick, 66 Ryne Stanke, 68
Wins Michael O'Neal, 8-3 Ryne Stanek, 7-2
Saves Terrance Dedrick, 8 Colby Suggs, 10

Team stats

Auburn Arkansas
Batting average .273 .265
On-base percentage .356 .351
Runs 255 265
RBIs 232 239
Extra-base hits 132 100
Home runs 30 26
Stolen bases 28-of-47 43-of-55
Errors 62 75
ERA 3.42 1.87
BA against .253 .204
WHIP 1.32 1.06
Walks 175 154
Strikeouts 296 417
Saves 16 16

Around the SEC

Alabama at No. 1 Vanderbilt

No. 23 Ole Miss at No. 2 LSU

No. 14 South Carolina at No 24 Mississippi State

Florida at Georgia

Texas A&M at Tennessee

Kentucky at Missouri

Bottom line

Auburn is trying to scratch and claw its way into the NCAA Tournament, and getting a series win against the Razorbacks would provide a big boost to the Tigers' odds. In his latest regional projections, Perfect Game's Kendall Rogers appears to have Auburn as the first team out of the tournament, and he says winning two of three against Arkansas "would likely put (the Tigers) on the good side of the bubble" going into the SEC Tournament. So, to say this season-ending series is crucial would be an understatement.

Despite the Hogs coming in with a projected RPI of 41, compared to Auburn's 35, the Tigers shouldn't be considered favorites. Arkansas has an excellent 17-9 conference record and the best pitching in the SEC. If the John Pawlowski's team isn't patient at the plate and fails to have consistently good at-bats, it will be long weekend. However, the Razorbacks aren't a great hitting team, and they lead the conference in errors. When their opponents commit at least one error, the Hogs are 23-6, but they're just 11-11 when opposing teams are error-free. And when Arkansas pitchers give up at least three runs, the team is 9-17.

So if Auburn can play clean baseball and take advantage of opportunities on offense, they'll have a great chance to take at least two games. Although, those are big "ifs."

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