Fresh off their 8th win in a row - a 7-4 win over ACC rival Georgia Tech - Auburn is preparing for their first true road series this weekend against the Georgia Bulldogs in Athens.
Auburn (18-5, 3-0) has been winning games in every way imaginable of late. They've thrashed opponents with the bats. They've won pitchers duels. They've won based on luck (all of UF's errors last Sunday) and never giving up. But one constant through it all has been some fairly outstanding pitching by the starters. The Tigers are on a roll with their 8 victories in a row and a sweep of Florida on the Plains.
Georgia (9-13, 0-3) has struggled somewhat to start the season. I'm not sure who Rider is, but the Dawgs dropped a series to Rider. They were swept in their first SEC series of the year at LSU last weekend. Their Friday night blowout loss to LSU was even worse (22-9) than Auburn's blowout victory over Florida.
The Tigers will put out the usual weekend rotation against the Bulldogs of Keegan Thompson, Casey Mize, and Davis Daniel. Just how good are Thompson and Mize? Well, this should give you a good idea:
Former starter Cole Lipscomb is the reliever who cleans up behind those two, which makes the Tigers very tough to beat on Friday and Saturday. That is, of course, the plan.
I'll take Auburn in those Friday and Saturday match-ups and it's not even close. Even on the road.
Just going by stats, this is a series Auburn should win. The Tigers' starting pitching for the first two games is way above and beyond the Bulldogs'. The Dawgs don't have the greatest hitters, though junior Keegan McGovern is a pretty dangerous batter with a .348 batting average. Aside from him, the Dawgs only have one batter hitting above .300. They're pretty decent at hitting the long ball, though, with 21 home runs so far this season.
If there's one strange - but also impressive - thing about Auburn's success at the plate this season, it's just how little of that has been with home runs. Auburn only has 7 home runs so far this season. They are, however, near the top in the national stats when it comes to hitting doubles. The Tigers get hits and they get extra base hits. Those are very good ways to get runs across the plate. They have 140 RBIs compared to UGA's 97.
Auburn has a real chance to get the SEC slate off with a 6-0 start. Starting 5-1 will still be perfectly acceptable, though. Dropping this series to what is apparently a bad UGA team would, however, could be a big setback to a team that's looking very confident and impressive right now.
First pitch tonight is 6:00 pm Central in Athens. All three games will be available through the WatchESPN app. Go get 'em, Tigers!