If you are an avid Auburn baseball follower, there was probably nothing that frustrated you more last year than the Tigers' performances against non-SEC competition during midweek games. The one thing that kept Auburn from reaching the NCAA Tournament for the second consecutive year was the collection of frustrating losses against teams like Jacksonville State, Troy, Samford, etc. No offense to those schools, because they typically have strong baseball programs. A loss to one of those teams is not a terrible thing. The trend of losing to a lower-level FCS-type team every Tuesday is.
Auburn is off to a much better start this year. After going 5-7 last year in midweek games, the Tigers are already 5-0 and have wins over Alcorn State, Alabama State, and Alabama during midweek action. Auburn travels to face a struggling South Alabama team tonight in Mobile. With SEC play getting started this coming weekend against highly-ranked Ole Miss, these are games that Auburn cannot take lightly if it wishes to return to the NCAA Tournament this spring.
Coach John Pawlowski has kept good on his promise to play a different kind of ball this year, as Auburn leads the country in stolen bases. The threat of a steal is very important. Not only does it force the pitcher to pitch from the stretch, but simply giving him another distraction does a lot of things to a pitcher. Throwing from the stretch usually makes a pitcher have to work harder to get on top of the ball, and it usually results in leaving more pitches up in the strike zone. When that happens, good things are more likely to happen at the plate. Let's hope we keep it up tonight.
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