This should have been a series the Tigers swept. The Southern Jaguars were winless on the year, suffering bad losses in all of their games but one. Auburn came in at .500 after dropping the first weekend series of the season to Sacramento State, but this set was perfect for the Tigers as they faced a team with bad pitching and little hitting.
Game 1 went as expected, as Auburn rocked the Jaguars 18-6. The Tigers went through a number of pitchers in the first game, with Octavio Rodriguez getting the start and the win. Jordan Ebert's bat continued to be hot in the early season with 5 hits (three of them doubles) and 3 RBIs. The senior is enjoying a fantastic year to date. Auburn's bats dominated and the Jaguars were put down easily in Friday's game.
Saturday's Game 2 was a slow and steady choking of the visiting team, as the Tigers scored a single run in the first five innings, adding two in the sixth to close out their scoring. That scoring included a Daniel Robert home run in the 4th, and Jordan Ebert increased his hitting streak to 10 games going back to last year. Justin Camp, meanwhile, is really coming into his own as a starter after being the closer last year. He threw eight scoreless innings, with 9 strikeouts, and allowing only two hits. Gordon Cardenas came in to close out the 9th.
Unfortunately, Ebert's hitting streak ended Sunday, as he did not pickup a hit in the Sunday loss. Auburn let the Jaguars jump out to a lead, and then could never recover. There were times when Auburn had opportunities, but some bad base-running led to outs to end those. Southern picked up insurance in the 8th with an unearned run, and Auburn couldn't complete the come-back that featured runs in the 5th-8th innings, including a Niko Buentello home run. Sunday starter Gabe Klobosits had another bad outing, after giving up a number of early runs to SSU last weekend. He allowed five earned runs in his 3.1 innings pitched. Freshman Casey Mize closed out the game with only the one unearned run and allowing only three hits in 5.2 innings. .
This team is close to putting it all together. Yes, losing the SSU series and dropping even one game to Southern is bad, but all three of those losses were by a single run. Auburn just needs to be a bit smarter on the base paths at time, and get the pitching a little more dialed in. It's obvious base stealing is going to be a big part of the Tigers' game plan this year, as they've attempted 25 and converted on 20 of those. That may cause us some heartache at times, but it's also going to get runners in scoring position more often than not if we continue with the current success rate of 4 out of 5. The bats are also doing fairly well, as the Tigers have hit home runs in every game this season, so far, and have scored 5 or more runs in every game, as well.
Auburn is back in action against Alabama A&M in a two-game weekday series this week beginning Tuesday. This weekend they'll be in Pensacola at the Cox Diamond Invitational to take on Troy, Michigan State, and Southern Miss.