Little Rock @ Auburn
- Fri: 7-0 W
- Sat: 6-0 W
- Sun: 12-6 L
For 22 innings, Auburn absolutely dominated Little Rock in all phases of the game. The Tiger offense clicked, the defense was on point all weekend, only committing on error on Sunday and the pitching seemed to have figured out a nice pitching rotation, evident by Little Rock getting their first runner to 3rd base in the 2nd inning of the Sunday game. Unfortunately for the Tigers, getting back Cody Greenhill on Friday did not buy enough pitching for the Tigers as they seemed to run out of arms too late in the game and Auburn dropped the finale after holding a 4-1 lead into the 5th inning. That’s the bad news, that Auburn missed out on a sweep by two big innings from the Trojans. The good news is that Auburn still has two starting arms on the mend and are inching closer to being back with every passing moment (Richard Fitts and Jack Owen). The other good news is that Auburn has found some folks out of the pen that will definitely be able to help as we get to the conference slate that, if everyone were healthy, Auburn may not trust because of necessity. Peyton Glavine threw three no hit innings with 5 strikeouts Friday night and Carson Swilling threw 1 inning to finish things off. Mason Barnett, who was slated to be the closer this year, went 7 innings of 2 hit ball before giving way to Blake Burkhalter who matched Barnett’s two hit effort as the 2 combined to strike out 13 on Saturday. On Sunday, through 4 innings Trace Bright gave up a solo home run while striking out 4. In the 5th, Little Rock figured out Bright and were able to hang 5 runs on him. Later in the game, Hayden Mullins came out and pitched a beautiful 3 innings, only giving up a run on 3 hits while striking out 3.
All in all, it was a productive weekend, Auburn got the series win, no one got injured and Cody Greenhill looked solid in his return from a week off with a bad ankle. The Auburn offense was able to put up 6+ runs in all 3 games which is normally good enough for a series sweep but, this is a different kind of year. Now, Auburn turns its focus to SEC play. The marathon is about to begin.
PITCHING PERFORMANCE OF THE WEEKEND
This week, I think Mason Barnett went above and beyond, stringing together his second solid start in a row this weekend. Over his last two outings, Barnett has gone 12.1 innings, giving up 1 run on 4 hits while walking 3 and striking out 12. Against Little Rock, Barnett went a career high 7 innings and looked strong enough to keep going but at 91 pitches, better to not extend him with Ole Miss looming next weekend. Barnett has been a welcome surprise for the Tigers with the starting pitching in flux early this season. It also is a great situation to be in going forward as Barnett has shown he could be an excellent effective long reliever if Auburn has a lead its trying to protect once Owen and Fitts get back to action.
HITTING PERFORMANCE OF THE WEEKEND
This week’s Performance goes to Auburn’s all everything leader, Ryan Bliss. Bliss was the man Little Rock tried to take out of the game and it didn’t work. Bliss went 5 for 11 on the weekend with a solo shot to start everything on Friday, a double, 3 runs scored and 3 RBIs on the weekend. Bliss is a known commodity for the Tigers but what he brings with the bat and the defense is secondary to the confident leadership that he has displayed this season and last season as well though there were only a handful of games to see it in. There are certain things Auburn fans have started to count on. Auburn football will always have a solid defense on the football field (for the most part), Bruce Pearl will have a competitive team on the hard wood and Ryan Bliss will do something at Shortstop or at the plate that will make you cheer.
This week will continue to be a busy one for the Tigers. Tuesday, Auburn welcomes Lipscomb for a single game at 4 pm before heading to Oxford to take on a top 5 Ole Miss team to kick off SEC Play. We will do a deeper dive on Ole Miss. Lipscomb comes in after getting swept by Georgia this weekend but is 5-5 on the year and will be a nice mid week test for the Tigers.