Auburn baseball is coming off a very disappointing weekend where the Tigers dropped 2 of 3 against one of the lesser LSU teams of the last few seasons. That was after the Tigers were swept in Fayetteville, Arkansas. At 2-7 in the conference, the situation is dire, but it's not completely unsalvageable just yet.
Making something good happen starts with this weekend's trip to Missouri. The Other Tigers are also 2-7 in the SEC, with their two wins coming in Arkansas where they managed to win the series against the Hawgs. They were swept in their previous two outings at Florida and at home against Vanderbilt.
Mizzou is 18-13 overall on the year. They finished the 2015 season 15-15 in conference, so they're not a bad team by any stretch. For Auburn, they represent the best chance to get some momentum going as we head toward the home stretch.
So how does Auburn manage to get that momentum? Well, for the second straight weekend we've seen a bit of a change in the pitching rotation. Previous midweek starter Andrew Mitchell got the nod last Sunday, and he will do so again this Saturday (Game 3 of the Thurs-Sat series), as well. The change is the flipping of the Game 1 and Game 2 starters. Cole Lipscomb is getting the Game 1 nod with Justin Camp taking Game 2.
Will that change in the rotation help the Auburn pitching staff? We'll see. Many of the issues seem to have come from the bullpens late in the game over the course of the season. However, in many of the SEC losses the damage was started before the Tigers went to the bullpen.
Pitching, of course, isn't everything. One of the Tigers' biggest issues this season has been that it's rare both pitching and hitting have been good at the same time. The bats have to stay strong this weekend and keep giving the pitching some help with run production. Some of the production from the latter half of the order has slacked off in the last few games, but there have been bright spots, as well.
Anfernee Grier and Josh Palacios are on an island alone with how good they are at the plate and in the field. It's close to an archipelago with Grier having the largest island, then Palacios, and Niko Buentello not far behind. Jordan Ebert has rebounded strongly from 2015 and returned to the form that had him hitting so well in 2014. A welcome addition to the hitting production has been Blake Logan, who is on a 6-game hitting streak and has 15 RBIs over the last 9 games.
I'm confident Auburn's bats can do enough to put the Tigers in a position to win the series. I'm hopeful the pitching is coming together, as well. Auburn needs to, at least, win the series. Get a sweep and Auburn is back to 5-7 in the SEC with a winnable/sweepable series against Tennessee at home the following weekend. That's the kind of things that can get the season turned around in a hurry during a year where Auburn avoids arguably the top two teams in the conference and no one is really as good as they normally are.
How to Watch
Thursday, 7 April: 6:30pm CDT, ESPNU or the WatchESPN app
Friday, 8 April: 6:00pm CDT, SECNetwork+
Saturday, 9 April: 1:00pm CDT, SEC Network+