Auburn will take to the diamond to face Southern University this weekend in a three-game series. First pitch for Game 1 will be this afternoon at 3 pm. Saturday's game is at 2 pm, and Sunday's game starts at 12:30 pm in order to accommodate fans who want to attend the Softball game, as well.
Southern has only played three games so far this season in the MLB Urban Youth Academy Invitational, and they lost all three of them. The first two were actually mercy-ruled losses, both 15-0 in 7 innings to first Grambling State and then Louisiana Tech. They lost the final game to Alcorn State 6-2.
Auburn got back to .500 for the season with Wednesday's victory over Florida A&M. The Tigers had a 4-1 lead in the 3rd inning on Kennesaw State Tuesday afternoon before rain caused the game's cancellation. The Tigers lost the opening series to Sacramento State after giving up leads late in both weekend games.
For Auburn, the stat lines of Southern's first three games should give the Tigers a good feeling. Auburn's bats have been pretty hot for the majority of the season to date. Anfernee Grier and Jordan Ebert each have 9 hits and a home run apiece, with 15 RBIs and 13 RBIs, respectively. Newcomer Niko Buentello has two home runs and 17 RBIs in the first four games.
One eye-opening stat, to me, is that Auburn is 13-15 on stolen bases in the first four games. I'm no baseball expert, but attempting to steal 15 bases in just four games sounds like a lot. Actually achieving the stolen base on 13 of those 15? That sounds spectacular. If Auburn can continue that trend, then more Tigers will be in scoring position to be driven home by the bats. That number would be even higher - Kyler Deese stole a base Tuesday afternoon - but the stats from the KSU game are washed out with the rain.
On the pitching side, Auburn's starters have been fairing fairly well. It's the late-game bullpen that has caused some issues. The Friday starter will be Octavio Rodriguez, who is 0-1 on the season with only two innings pitched. He's credited with the Sunday loss after allowing one run on two hits in the 12th inning loss to the Hornets. Justin Camp will start Saturday's game. Camp was the Saturday starter last week, but picked up a no-decision. He had six strikeouts in his six innings pitched, but allowed a run in the 5th and six innings before he was pulled from the game. Sunday's starter has yet to be announced.
This series should help the Tigers get back on track. It should be one that the Tigers win easily, and should probably sweep.
As the season progresses a bit, I'm planning on trying to expand these previews a bit and make them a bit more structured. Right now I just wanted to get something out there to cover it more than we did last year.