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View from the Parking Deck: Tigers Scratch Past No. 8 LSU

Game 1: Auburn 4, LSU 3

Game 2: Auburn 3, LSU 2 (10 innings)

Game 3: LSU 4, Auburn 3

The Auburn baseball team sent a message to the SEC West this weekend, and that message is that the series win against Ole Miss in Oxford was no fluke. Auburn took two of three tightly-contested games from the Bayou Bengals, each of which was decided by one run. The series could have gone either way, and most unbiased observers say that the umpire missed a crucial call in Friday's game that helped give Auburn the win. Still, the good Tigers won the weekend, which is no small feat.

WHAT WENT RIGHT?

The bullpen -- The Auburn corps of relievers did an outstanding job overall this weekend. Pitchers that were called on in relief allowed zero earned runs through the first two games. Trey Cochran-Gill allowed one earned run on Sunday. For a unit that has struggled at times, the performances against LSU were mighty impressive.

Starting pitching -- As well as the bullpen performed, the starting pitchers were just as good. Derek Varnadore, Will Kendall and Daniel Koger continued to impress, as they each had a quality starts in no-decisions. Varnadore allowed one earned run (plus two unearned) through 7.1 innings on Friday. Kendall allowed two earned runs on Saturday, and while three runs scored against Koger on Sunday, none of them were earned. If Auburn pitching can continue to be this good, the Tigers should be in every ball game they play.

Clutch hitting -- Auburn still has a problem with leaving runners on base, but the Tigers did a better job against LSU with some very timely hitting. On Friday, Ryan Tella came up with a big base hit late in the game to score Zach Alvord for the go-ahead run. On Saturday, Dan Glevenyak did his job and hit a sacrifice fly in the 10th to score the game-winner.

The Crowd -- Over 11,000 showed up this weekend at Plainsman Park. That's not included the two levels of the parking deck that were filled to capacity. Great job by Auburn fans to get out and support the Tigers.

WHAT WENT WRONG?

Defense -- It is safe to say that Auburn could have swept LSU if the Tigers would have played better in the field. Auburn had seven errors that allowed LSU some scoring opportunities that the bad Tigers probably shouldn't have gotten. Without the three unearned runs scored by LSU on Sunday, Auburn more than likely wins that game.

UPDATED EXPECTATIONS

Auburn played this weekend like it belonged in the thick of the SEC West race. It is not that far-fetched to say the Tigers are playing the third-best baseball in the conference right now -- no one is playing better than Florida and Kentucky. It will be a surprise if Auburn doesn't vault into the top 25 this weekend after winning the series versus eighth-ranked LSU.