#17 Auburn vs #15 Georgia Tech
- Tuesday: 11 – 6 L
Auburn ran in to more of the issues that have plagued them in the last month, this time from the mound. Auburn was able to a quick 3-0 lead on the bats of Conor Davis, Judd Ward and Kason Howell who all drove in runs. Carson Skipper was fantastic through 2.2 innings but ran in to trouble in the 3rd that allowed Tech to get on the board at 3-1 after 3. From there Tech would score in every inning for the rest of the game while Auburn was only able to muster 3 runs during that same time frame. On the evening Rankin Woley was the man at the plate, going 3 for 4 with a run scored and a double. The thing that cost the Tigers on this night was the pitching staff. Georgia Tech has one of the better offenses in the country and the Tiger staff allowed 10 walks and one Hit by Pitch to Tech batters. Out of those passes, Tech scored 6 of their 11 runs. It’s a rough loss to take just from that one stat line. However, as Coach Thompson said in his pregame interview for the past few games, these growing pains that the new pitchers are going through this year will pay off down the road. Of the 6 pitchers Auburn used, 4 of them are first year guys and 3 are True Freshmen. It is definitely a product of building the foundation that is necessary for long term success, the problem is working through those growing pains to get to the promised land of the post season.
Around the League
- vs #18 Clemson, TUE: 3-2 W/20
GOOD GREIF 20 INNINGS!?! This thing was an absolute unicorn, 157 different batters came up to the plate and only 19 got hits. There were 50….. 5 DASH 0 Strikeouts combined. Good on Georgia to hang out for the W, and now they get Missouri who is all the sudden a trendy pick as a dark horse Regional host. We will find out this weekend.
- vs Indiana State, TUE: 7-1 W
Indiana State was an early season RPI darling but that has long since gone. Solid win for Vandy and now the Dores travel down to T-town to take on Bama and will be your only SEC Baseball entertainment on Easter Sunday. I know I will be watching this finale because I am that nerdy and because I have a feeling I know what’s coming for Bama.
- vs Arkansas-Pine Bluff, TUE: 16-4 W/7
Yawn. Arkansas prepares to host their 2nd team from the state of Mississippi as the Dogs head to Fayetteville this weekend. By far this is the series of the weekend in the conference. The question will be, can the starters from State hold on long enough to keep the Arkansas offense at bay.
- vs Louisiana, TUE: 6-5 L
Ouch. Midweekers have not been particularly kind to the Tigers this season. They do hold a 7-4 midweek record but have dropped back to back games to Southern and the Ragin Cajuns. Now LSU circles the wagons at the Box to take on a Florida team that doesn’t travel well this season. It could be exactly what the Tigers need.
#9 Mississippi State
- vs Texas Southern, TUE: 5-1 W
Yawn. State with a ho-hum midweek win on a short week as they head out to Fayetteville. I have already outlined the thing I will be watching in the Arkansas blurb but I also want to see how the State offense reacts to Baum Stadium. Normally the wind is a factor up on the hill in NW Arky and that could be a blessing or a curse to the talented Bulldog bats. I’m interested to see which one it is.
#13 Texas A&M
- @ Houston, TUE: 4-1 L
Not a terrible loss for A&M as Houston has won 5 in a row now and is only 2 games out from conference leader East Carolina, but it is still a loss. The good news is that the Aggies hit the road to take on a South Carolina team that is currently out of Hoover. This should be a series win for A&M but a sweep would help erase that tied Missouri game from earlier this season.
#16 Ole Miss
- vs Memphis, TUE: 5-2 W
A get me through it game for the Rebels. Ole Miss is 6-3 in their last 9 conference games though they are coming off a puzzling home series loss from Kentucky and now hit the road to take on Auburn who is somewhat dangerous just because you don’t know if the offense will finally bust out or the pitching will get it together, or do you get the team that has struggled to get hits and outs for the past month.
- vs Morehead State, TUE: 3-1 W
Nice follow up win after the surprising series win over Georgia this past weekend. The Vols must now head to Lexington and try to avoid the series let down against the Cats. Kentucky looked good last Sunday against Ole Miss but faltered against Louisville on Tuesday. It’s a bigger series that you would think for Tennessee and their young program.
- @ Missouri State, TUE: 14-6 W
The darling of the conference this week after a surprising conference win over LSU continued their winning ways over MSU. Mizzou heads to Athens for their biggest test to date against Georgia. If the Tigers can do the impossible and give this Georgia team back to back series losses, this time at home…watch out.
- vs Jacksonville, TUE: 8-4 W
Always nice for the Gators to get a win over the Dolphins but now Florida must go to Baton Rouge to take on LSU at the Box. Normally this is a ‘cancel all plans, get your favorite snack foods’ series but this year, it has lost a bit of its luster with Florida holding a 6-9 conference record and having yet to win a conference game on the road this season (sure it’s Vandy and Ole Miss but still). Can they break through and get an important one on the road?
- vs #14 Louisville, TUE: 18-6 L
Ugh, just when you thought Kentucky was finally getting some momentum, bam, the Cardinals show up and knock them back to Earth. Kentucky will stay at Kentucky Proud Park to take on Tennessee in what will be an interesting series for both squads as Kentucky looks to push past Alabama and South Carolina in the standings.
- vs #20 North Carolina (in Charlotte, NC), TUE: 5-2 W
Now this is the surprise of the midweek. Fantastic win for the Gamecocks and a good bounce back after a crushing loss against Florida last Sunday in the last at bat. Carolina heads back to Founders Park to take on A&M this weekend and it will be a good test for them to try and make some progress to get on the good side of the line for Hoover.
- @ UAB, TUE: 3-2 W
Interesting win here for Bama. First off, it’s always good to bounce back after a rough weekend. However Alabama is much better than UAB even though the Blazers always play SEC teams tough. The bad news for the Tide is that Vandy now heads to town and are riding high after a nice series win over Arkansas…uh oh.
On Deck (with SEC Schedule)
- Missouri @ #4 Georgia (THU-SAT)
- #5 Mississippi State @ #9 Arkansas (THU-SAT)
- #10 Texas A&M @ South Carolina (THU-SAT)
- Florida @ #13 LSU (THU-SAT)
- #16 Tennessee @ Kentucky (THU-SAT)
- #20 Ole Miss @ #21 Auburn (THU-SAT)
- #3 Vanderbilt @ Alabama (FRI-SUN)
It’s an odd week in the conference as teams were allowed to decide if they wanted to play early and have Easter Sunday off. All teams decided to do it except for Vanderbilt and Alabama so we get an almost full Thursday of conference play tonight. As for Auburn and Ole Miss, Auburn sits just 2 games out of first place in the conference (I know it feels like more but this team has been able to scrap and fight to get here) and could definitely use a series win over the Rebels to keep pace as the 2nd half of the conference slate begins. While the pitching matchups may look a bit different for the Rebels, Auburn will go with Garrett Wade for Game 1, Burns for Game 2 and Brooks Fuller for Game 3. The hope is to get 2 innings of work for Jack Owen and ease him back in (Davis is still planned to be good to work again during the Alabama series). Ole Miss with definitely through Will Ethridge and his 1.76 ERA in 41 innings of work either Thursday or Friday but after that it’s an embarrassment of riches. The Rebels could run out Doug Nikhazy, Gunnar Hoglund or Zack Phillips to start though the first two names are the more likely selections. Meanwhile, at the plate Ole Miss has 4 guys hitting over .330 paced by Ryan Olenek at .370. Grae Kessinger, Thomas Dillard and Cole Zabowski round out the foursome that has also combined for 20 Home Runs on the season (Dillard leads with 9). This is a tall task for this Auburn team as they still search for their identity and its made enough tougher by a quick turn after the visit to Georgia Tech. A series win is what Auburn needs, but getting a win this weekend is the goal.