Wright State @ #18 Auburn
- Friday: 7-2 W
- Saturday: 20-6 W
- Sunday: 6-0 W
First off, this won’t be a very in depth write up because I was only able to listen to the Auburn Sports Network broadcast of all 3 games and, while they do a good job of calling the action, I would just be reciting what they said and that isn’t fair to you good readers. That said, what a bounce back for the Auburn baseball team. Sure, the record show that Wright State isn’t winning games in the early season and their stats show the same thing, which is why I made sure to show that their pitching is off to a slow start last week in the preview. Auburn’s bats took advantage of that fact, hitting .356 as a team on the weekend with 8 doubles and 4 bombs. On the other side of the page, the pitching staff continued their pace of striking out double digit hitters, fanning a total of 40 Raiders on the weekend and getting the shut out on Sunday. The other encouraging thing was that Wright State was able to get the pitching staff in to jams and in turn, the Auburn pitching staff was able to work out of said jams, either limiting the damage to 1 run, or no damage at all. The roughest inning was the 1st inning of the Saturday game, when a catcher’s interference extended the inning for Wright State and contributed to 3 total runs. After that Jack Owen clamped down and didn’t allow another run in his outing and the offense picked him up, scoring runs in the next 4 innings including a back breaking 10 runs in the 4th.
All in all, it was a solid bounce back weekend for the Tigers as they get set for a big midweeker against Samford (if the rain let’s us play…)
Pitching Performance of the Weekend
Let’s split the award this weekend between Bailey Horn and Richard Fitts. Horn has been trying to find that magic he had in the postseason and we saw glimpses of that guy Sunday. Horn went 5 strong innings, giving up 6 hits with 2 walks while striking out 7 on the day. He also threw a career high 89 pitches as a Tiger. He was also able to get out of trouble as he stranded a total of 7 Raiders on the bases. He was replaced with Richard Fitts who was masterful retiring all 7 batters he faced, going 2.1 innings and striking out 3. If Auburn can get what they got from Horn and Fitts this weekend, Sundays are a very dangerous time for teams looking to take a series from Auburn as we race closer to SEC play in 2 weeks.
Batting Performance of the Weekend
As I mentioned above, Auburn hit for over .350 as a team this weekend so this could be a number of guys but to me, Matt Scheffler stood out in a big way for the Tigers. Going 6 for 10 on the weekend with a double, 4 runs scored, 6 RBIs and 2 walks, Schefty was almost an automatic on the bases all weekend. When you combine that with what he does for the Tigers behind the plate, limiting any wild pitches or passed balls and the ability to keep runners in check with a solid arm behind the plate, Matt has been able to keep things going at a position that has been up in the air for Auburn in preseasons the past couple of years but has turned in to a strength with Brett Wright, now Schefty and in the future Nate LaRue among others.
This week looks like it will be a little wet but, if the heavens part and we get to play, Auburn will host traditional thorn in their side, the Samford Bulldogs and Casey Dunn. Samfrod look dangerous so far this season standing at 10-1 on the year. The only loss was against Belmont in Nashville a few weeks back but has swept the likes of UNC Ashville and Northern Kentucky. This would be the biggest test for the Bulldogs so far this season as their only other game against SEC competition was rained out against Mississippi State a few weeks back. If the Tigers stay true to form, look for Trace Bright or Brooks Fuller to get the nod to start but I would expect to see both throw at some point in the game. Following that, the Tigers host Chicago State in the final non-conference series of the year before SEC play begins the following weekend!