#12 Auburn vs Alabama
The Capital City Classic
Tuesday: 6 – 3 L
The offense was good enough to win.
The defense was definitely good enough to win
Alert in the early going.— Auburn Baseball (@AuburnBaseball) March 26, 2019
Tigers keep a run off the board with an inning-ending double play.
E1 | AU 0, UA 0 pic.twitter.com/NUTOMplI5c
Garrett Wade and Richard Fitts were good enough to win as well.
— Auburn Baseball (@AuburnBaseball) March 26, 2019
G-Wade works a scoreless frame and ends it with a punchout.
E3 | AU 0, UA 1 pic.twitter.com/jcPY0MHra5
The final inning of play, however, was not. Auburn would have to use 3 pitchers to get the final 2 outs of the 8th inning and before it was all said and done, Alabama had scored 3 runs to take a 6-3 lead to the 9th inning. Auburn would have no answer in the 9th and the final was cemented.
On the positive side, Garrett Wade was shaky but effective, going 3.2 innings and holding Alabama to 4 hits and striking out 5. He did give up 3 runs, 2 earned, and walked 5, but the walks are something you have to put up with as a freshman sometimes. Richard Fitts was exceptional, going the same 3.2 innings, scattering 3 hits with a walk and a strikeout that ended his evening at 65 pitches. He was pulled more to not over extend him as a freshman. One thing Butch has shown as a Head Coach is that his players come first (a trait that is lost on some coaches) and even though it is Alabama, this win or loss is not as important as a Saturday or Sunday win over South Carolina or Arkansas in the conference. On the offensive side, Steven Williams had a solid evening going 2-5 with a run scored while Conor Davis was 2-4. Alabama did a nice job of switching up looks from the mound to keep the Auburn offense off balance, using 8 different pitchers throughout the evening.
While the loss hurts, as it always does to Alabama, and is very frustrating that the bullpen all of the sudden can’t get outs, it is not the end of the world. This team is 20-5 on the year and 4-2 in the conference with a road series in Columbia fast approaching. The defense is playing better but still has a few things to tighten up, the offense is pretty solid for the most part so the mound and “getting to the finish line” as Coach Thompson calls it, should be the focus. The good news about this is that with baseball, another game is just around the corner. The bad news is, most of the time, you have to fix things on the fly.
Around the League
#2 Mississippi State
- vs Mississippi Valley State, TUE: 18-5 W
The Devils actually had a lead midway through this one but, stop me if you’ve heard this, the State bats came alive and won this one going away.
State will host LSU in the Thursday Night Baseball series, and that one will be fun. ESPNU will have it and it looks like Kyle Peterson and the boys will call the game from the Left Field Lofts which should be a ton of fun.
- vs Lipscomb, TUE: 15-1 W
Not much to write about in this game, but Vandy is getting hot again and that’s not good news for Tennessee.
- @ Georgia Tech, TUE: 11-2 L/7 (rain)
This is a bit of a shock. Tech is a good ball club but not 11-2 in just 7 innings against Georgia good. Don’t feel bad for the Dogs, they get a punchless Kentucky squad that, as long as you can get past Friday, doesn’t look like they have much on the back end just yet.
- @ Missouri State, TUE: 8-2 W
Any midweek road win is nice and the Hogs win this one running away. They now prepare to welcome Ole Miss who looks a bit rattled after a send it in effort against Alabama and a series loss at Mizzou. Arkansas and been strong though with series wins over both of those teams. I don’t like the Rebels chances…
#10 Texas A&M
- vs Lamar, TUE: 10-7 W
I was going to use this image to describe this game...
until the 9th inning when Lamar, down 10-3, went on a tear and got 2 runs with no outs, and 2 more runs with 2 outs before striking out to end the game. A little shaky to end things but the Aggies get the W and prepare for the Missouri Tigers who are all of the sudden hot.
- vs McNeese, TUE: 2-0 L
That’s…that’s not supposed to happen at the Box. LSU had 4 hits and 6 walks on the evening but also had 8 strikeouts…at home…to McNeese. Don’t misunderstand, McNeese is a solid ball club but, ouch. Now LSU begins the trek north to Starkville…have fun with that!
- @ #20 Florida State, TUE: 4-2 W
Florida does it again to the Noles, this time in a much more reasonable 4-2 game as opposed to the 20-7 whipping they gave FSU a few weeks back. Florida is in the same situation South Carolina is as far as we aren’t really sure what we are going to get from them in a game to game basis. This weekend will be interesting for Florida as they host the Tide. Alabama is a gritty team that will take chances to win and if Florida isn’t ready, they will get beat.
#24 Ole Miss
- @ Memphis, TUE: 9-6 W
Midweek win for Ole Miss, but now is the time for Ole Miss to break out of the funk they’ve been in since visiting Louisville. The Rebs travel to Fayetteville for a weekend visit against the Western Division leaders for a Fork in the Road series.
- vs East Tennessee State, TUE: 6-5 L
Vols drop a heartbreaker to the Bucs but it was the way that ended it that made it a baaad heartbreaker.
Here's the bizarre double play that ended the game, courtesy of SEC Network #SCTop10 #ETSUTough— ETSU Baseball (@ETSU_Baseball) March 27, 2019
Tonight was ETSU's first win over a ranked opponent since 2014 @SportsCenter @d1baseball @KendallRogers @NCAACWS pic.twitter.com/6VWGsxvafj
There will be these growing pains for the Vols but they will be ok. But maaan does it hurt right now.
- vs North Carolina A&T, TUE: 2-0 L
I said that I wasn’t sure what to make of South Carolina in the Tuesday write up, and this does nothing but further that! A&T got 2 runs in the 3rd and made it stand up while the Gamecocks got a runner to 3rd twice but and only had more than one runner on base in the 3rd and 4th inning. Carolina pieced together 5 hits but struck out 11 times on the evening. Could Carolina be just the thing to break the Auburn pitching staff out of its funk…
- @ UTSA, TUE: 12-11 W/12
- @ Incarnate Word, WED: 11-7 W
Two more solid wins over teams that have good wins over top programs (UTSA over Texas and I.C. over Texas A&M). Mizzou is starting to realize their role as they appeal the post season ban for baseball, softball and football.
It probably won’t change anything but hey…at least they are trying. As far as this weekend goes, the Tigers have dropped a series to a top 15 team, beaten a top 25 team and now must play on the road at a top 10 team…such is life in the SEC.
- vs Morehead State, TUE: 7-0 W
Nice victory for Kentucky after 2 rough weekends. Now the Bat Cats welcome in Georgia…good luck!!
On Deck (with SEC Schedule)
- #16 LSU @ #2 Mississippi State (THU-SAT)
- Tennessee @ #5 Vanderbilt
- #6 Georgia @ Kentucky
- #24 Ole Miss @ #8 Arkansas
- Missouri @ #10 Texas A&M
- #12 Auburn @ South Carolina
- Alabama @ #19 Florida
Auburn heads back out on the road for another road test against South Carolina. The Gamecocks have stumbled out of the blocks. The main reason is an unsettled pitching rotation. One thing is for sure, Auburn will see Reid Morgan at some point this weekend. Morgan has started every weekend for Carolina at one point or another, last week going on Saturday in the win over Tennessee. Morgan carries a 2.56 ERA and a 2-0 record into this weekend with opponent’s batting .255 against him. Other names to watch on the mound would be TJ Shook (2.66 ERA in 20.1 innings) and Dylan Harley (7.77 ERA in 22 innings) but it could be a different rotation the Gamecocks decide to go with as they find the right recipe. At the plate the Gamecocks go with TJ Hopkins (batting .327 on the season) and Jacob Olson (also at .327) as their average leaders and also their Home Run leaders (8 HRs and 9 HRs respectively). For the Tigers, there are rumors that Jack Owen might return this week if a bullpen session Wednesday went well, for a Saturday start. Also, Davis Daniel is inching closer to a return that is desperately needed to a staff that has been roughed up in the past 3 ballgames. The goal for Auburn is to get 1 win with a road series but this is one that Auburn can probably take the series and really repair a bruised confidence, and also to break a 3 game losing streak after taking 15 in a row.