Every game is important to Auburn head coach Butch Thompson, but you can bet this weekend's series means a little bit more. As late as the middle of last Fall, Thompson was the pitching coach at Mississippi State. Following the abrupt firing of former coach Sunny Golloway and the head coaching search during Auburn's fall practice, Butch Thompson was tabbed to return to the Plains - where he'd been an assistant in years prior - to be the head coach. Now, he'll face his old team again.
It won't be easy. Mississippi State, always a top team in the SEC and the nation, is no different from the norm this season. They are ranked #4 in the nation and look sure to be a national seed in the NCAA Tournament. Auburn, meanwhile, has struggled mightily in conference. The last two home weekends have turned out fairly well for the Tigers, and Auburn definitely hopes to end the last home series in the same fashion.
This should come as no surprise, but Mississippi State is better than Auburn in every statistical category. That's why they're #4 in the nation and Auburn is near the bottom of the conference. If you want to know just how thin the margin can be and just how much a bad inning or one or two bad plays can affect a team, just look at how close those numbers are in many categories.
Auburn had a small bit of sunshine in Wednesday's midweek loss to Kennesaw State as Josh Palacios had his first at-bat in weeks. He's getting closer and closer to returning to the lineup, which is big news going into the last two weekends. Palacios was batting over .400 when he was injured.
Auburn's pitching rotation will be the same as it has been the last few weekends with Cole Lipscomb starting Game 1, Justin Camp starting Game 2, and TBD starting Game 3. If I had to guess, I'd say the Game 3 starter will be Ben Braymer, but that's just a guess on my part.
Auburn is one game ahead of Arkansas in the SEC West. Tennessee and Missouri are also one game behind Auburn in that race for the final spots in Hoover going into the last weekends.
How to Watch:
Friday, May 13: 6:00pm Central, WatchESPN/SEC Network+
Saturday, May 14th: 3:30pm Central, SEC Network
Sunday, May 15th: 1:00pm Central, WatchESPN/SEC Network+