LSU @ Auburn
- THU: 8-3 L
- FRI: 9-6 L
- SAT: 2-1 W
Let’s get the not so fun part out of the way. Just like last week, Auburn ran into a top notch arm in game one and the offense just couldn’t get enough going to keep up with a hot LSU offense. Landon Marceaux was excellent for 6 innings, keeping the Tigers off balance while Jack Owen had one bad inning that cost him and the Tigers fell in the opener. In game two, the bullpen woes continued and LSU just out scored Auburn in a 9-6 shoot out to take the series. That takes us to game 3 which looked more like a Friday night in the SEC rather than a game 3 get away day game, though it didn’t start off that way. Three pitches in Richard Fitts and the Tigers found themselves down 1-0 after a solo bomb from LSU’s Tre Morgan. After that however, Fitts settled down and went 6 innings, striking out 7, walking 2 and not giving up another hit. The duo of Carson’s (Swilling and Skipper) took it from there with the final 3 innings of play and kept LSU off the scoreboard, combining for 5 strikeouts while walking 3 and only allowing 1 LSU hit. On the offensive side, Judd Ward (BAY-BAY) popped one off in the 3rd to tie things up.
For most of the day though Ma’Khail Hilliard kept the Tigers off balance, scattering 4 hits while striking out 6. Then came the bottom of the 9th, with the game tied up at 1, Ryan Bliss started things off with a base hit and quickly moved to 2nd with a fantastic sacrifice bunt from Tyler Miller who had struggled all day, just like almost everyone else had. In a move that is almost insanity but is just risky and praying for a double play, LSU gave Rankin Woley a free pass to get to Steven Williams. Williams was able to reach on a catcher’s interference and Auburn had the bases loaded with 1 out. LSU would make a pitching change and it would pay off with a strike out of Bryson Ware which would put everything on the shoulders of Brody Moore.
So Auburn take a win when it had to get one against the Purple Tigers. So, you may be asking, what does the SEC Standings and the Race for Hoover look like now after another weekend of play?
First off, the teams that are bold have officially punched a ticket to Hoover but their seed could and probably will change. Going into the weekend, Auburn finds themselves on the outside looking in by a game with Texas A&M stealing the series from Ole Miss. That’s not an awful thing though, because Auburn is now a game ahead of Missouri and only a game behind Texas A&M and Auburn plays both teams over the final two weekends of the season. Just for those that want to see what the bracket looks like, here ya go.
Pitching Performance of the Weekend
It will come as no surprise, its Richard Fitts, who has had a rough go of it in a year where he was supposed to step into the role of THE guy. However, injuries and just a run of bad luck have combined to hinder his year up to this point. But Saturday, Fitts made one bad pitch in the 3rd one of the game but he responded and was brilliant after that. Huge start and even bigger performance for Fittsy.
Hitting Performance of the Weekend
If we look at the whole weekend, its Ryan Bliss who has been on an absolute tear lately. But I think the biggest offensive performance for the weekend was from Brody Moore, who got the base hit that push Auburn to victory in a must have game 3 against LSU. That at bat did a lot of things for the Tigers. It put them ahead of Missouri, kept Auburn a game back of Texas A&M, got the Tigers a 1 run victory (just the 3rd of the season), gave the entire team confidence in close games as we come to the end of the regular season and it rewarded the pitching staff who deserved a win in that game with the performance they had. All around, that might have been then biggest at bat of the season so far and it was so deserved by this ballclub that, even in the face of everything that has happened this season, refused to give up and mail it in.
This week the Tigers travel to Birmingham to take on Casey Dunn and the Bulldogs of Samford for a Tuesday night game. Auburn took a 6-4 decision from Samford at Plainsman Park back in April so the Tigers will look for the rare season sweep of the Bulldogs. Following that, Auburn will return home to take on Texas A&M for the season’s final SEC Series at Plainsman Park this year. It will be a traditional Friday-Sunday Series and will probably be the last chance for the home crowd to see Rankin Woley and Carson Skipper for sure, and its all but likely the last time for Ryan Bliss, Steven Williams, Jack Owen, Cody Greenhill and possibly Richard Fitts as well. Game times are 6 pm, 2pm and 1 pm so if you can, make sure you go out and give props to these guys who, even with a rough season, have gotten Auburn Baseball back to where it should be, where Auburn expects to win and is back in the national discussion.