Auburn @ #2 Arkansas
- Thursday: 2-1 W
- Friday: 6-5 L
- Saturday: 6-5 L/10
Even though the outcome looked a lot like previous weeks, this weekend showed what Auburn can be close to full strength. Sure, the bullpen lost leads late…on the road…at a ball park Auburn had not won a game since 2014…against the #2 or #1 team in the country depending on the poll you like to look at, while Auburn has struggled to get offense when it needed it and the defense looked spotty at times prior to this weekend. That all changed this weekend. Auburn’s offense got on base and were able to drive in runs via the home run and stringing together base hits while the defense was stellar. Coming into this weekend, Arkansas had only one double play turned on them all season. In 28 innings, Auburn turned seven.
Getting that kind of production on the defensive side of the field definitely helps even things out when there is a talent disparity like Arkansas has on most of the country, but it definitely did on Sunday especially as Auburn was able to force Arkansas to strand 11 runners on the day and 20 on the weekend all together.
Was this weekend a bit disappointing with how everything played out? Absolutely. Auburn should have and could have walked away from Fayetteville with a series sweep of a coconscious top 2 team in the country. Instead, they get what they had to get, a win on the road in the SEC. Now the Tigers return home for a quick four game homestand where they have to continue to improve as they get back another piece to a bullpen that needs any help that it can get.
PITCHING PERFORMANCE OF THE WEEKEND
Jack Owen was supposed to be the Saturday/Game 2 guy that could get Auburn that swing win after the Bull does what the Bull does on Friday nights. This week, that’s exactly what Jack put Auburn in position to do as he went 5.1 innings of 2 hit ball, only walking one and striking out four Razorback hitters. Jack was able to mix pitches and looked like the guy we all expected him to be before dislocating a finger on his throwing hand in a preseason scrimmage. He was able to mix pitches and the defense was fantastic behind him as Owen left the Tigers with a 4-0 lead in the 5th before being pulled because of his pitch count more than anything. If Jack keeps on this trend, it will definitely limit how many innings a thin bullpen will have to contend with going forward.
HITTING PERFORMANCE OF THE WEEKEND
When you’re picking players for your team, a guy like Brody Moore might fall to the middle of the picks. He would be the player that plays the toughest and never gives up. This is sort of a defensive pick as well because of how he and Ryan Bliss were able to turn 2 on the Hogs all weekend long, but it’s also because Brody went 4 for 4 on Friday and had a solo bomb on Thursday night that started of the scoring for the Tigers in a major pitchers duel. Moore has been that pesky throne in the side for teams that under estimate his ability, his heart and also his power as he is now a multi homer guy.
Auburn returns to Plainsman Park for a mid-weeker against Kennesaw State Tuesday night before hosting a top 10 team in the Mississippi State Bulldogs. State just finished a sweep of Kentucky who came back down to earth in a big way this past weekend. We will do a deeper dive on what to expect from State Thursday when we recap the Kennesaw State game.