Auburn @ #20 Georgia Tech
- TUE: 7-3 W
I don’t think I’ve ever seen Auburn need a win more than the one they got Tuesday evening on the Flatts. It was an almost completely dominant win. I say almost because there was one inning where things got very uncomfortable and Auburn allowed Tech to load the bases with one out in the 8th but Will Morrison came in and only allowed one run to cross and then Carson Swilling came in and SLAMMED the door, striking out the side in one of the strongest innings on the hill this season. Before we turn to the offense, we also need to give a shout out to Trace Bright, who started things off with 4 strong innings, shutting down the Jackets through 3 but running into a little trouble in the 4th giving up a 2 run bomb but left with a 3-2 lead. On the offensive side of the ball, if this is the last time Steven Williams sees Russ Chandler Stadium or Georgia Tech it will be too soon for the Rambling Wreck. Williams was a one man gang, going 2 for 4 with a 2 run home run, a 2 run double and 4 RBIs on the evening. Bryson Ware also added a 2 run shot off the scoreboard that going out of the Russ in a hurry and. Auburn’s other run came off the bat of Ryan Bliss who drove in Kason Howell back in the 2nd inning. Below are the highlights of the W, and if you watch till the end, notice the look on Swilling’s face. That is the look of someone that is ready to go. Someone that is tired of the feeling the baseball diamond has had for the last few weeks. If Auburn does what it did Tuesday, then that intensity will continue to flourish.
- Thursday: 6pm (SEC Network)
- Friday: 6pm (SEC Network+)
- Saturday: 4pm (SEC Network+)
Auburn will be on the road to take on alabama at Tuscaloosa. So far this season, the tide is much improved and is eyeing a spot in the NCAA tournament. Coach Bo and the squad enter this weekend with a 20-12 (5-7) record and a 4 game winning streak including a very rare road sweep of Texas A&M. Tuesday saw the pachyderms destroy Samford 19-3 at Sewell-Thomas. For this weekend, which is a Thursday-Saturday series with Game 1 being the feature contest on the SEC Network at 6 PM, the trunks will roll out Tyler Ras who is 5-1 on the season and making his 7th start. Ras enters with a 3.45 ERA in 44.1 innings. Ras has a fastball that will sit in the low 90s but can touch 94 or 95 if he’s juiced up but his secondary stuff has gotten better since the last time Auburn paid attention to anything that came out of Tuscaloosa. His slider is improved and can look like a cutter that sits in the mid to upper 80s, he also has a curveball and a changeup that he can get across for strikes as well, but the main thing is he fills up the zone and never gives you a good look, which is what makes him dangerous. If Auburn gets a chance to do damage on him, as is the case with any Friday Night guy, they have to take advantage. In Game 2 Dylan Smith will take the bump and comes in with a 2.58 ERA and an 0-3 record in 8 starts. With 45.1 innings under his belt he is a well seasoned Junior and while he will give up some hits (8 last weekend in College Station) teams are having trouble getting them around to score. Smith is a strikeout pitcher however, getting at least 5 Ks in each of his 8 outtings. Game 3 will see the return of Connor Prielipp who will be making his return after a “medical condition” kept him off the bump since February 26th. Normally, Connor has a fastball that will sit mid 90s and a slider that will go to 90 with a late break on it. The changeup stays in the mid 80s but is the pitch he has been working on since the fall. How much will he be able to go and how effective will he be in his first start is a huge question but if he is on fire from first pitch, it could be a long afternoon for the offense.
Speaking of at the plate, bama has 3 guys to keep your eye on…though you should watch every one of them like an eagle. Zane Denton leads the pachyderms with a .346 BA and has started every game at 3rd. Right behind him is Peyton Wilson who hold a .345 average and is tied for the team lead in home runs with two other elephants (Owen Diodati and Sam Praytor). Another thing with Wilson, if he gets on base, he’s probably going to try and steal (insert joke here), he’s 9 for 10 on the season. The last guy to watch for the weekend is William Hamiter who has a .343 average. A double machine this one, he is tied for the team lead with 8 (Drew Williamson is the other one there).
Auburn will counter with the Bull, Jack and Gonzo who will be looking to bounce back after a rough go against State last weekend and if I don’t miss my guess, Joe will be ready to go on Saturday afternoon. This is a huge series for both teams. Auburn at least must get a win but could really really use a series win, even if it wasn’t uat on the other side. I will call for a 2-1 weekend but it could go any possible way. If Auburn comes out with the same mindset they did in Atlanta, then things might be changing. Huge weekend for the Tigers, time to get to work.