Auburn is coming off a huge home series win over Ole Miss, and if the Tigers want any shot at making a regional, they probably need to take two of three against the Gators this weekend. Florida got off to a slow start this year, and they've been sporadic in SEC play. The Gators swept South Carolina a few weeks ago, but they're coming off three straight losses to LSU.
For the third game in a row, the Tigers managed just one run. Unsurprisingly, it was the Tigers' third loss in a row.
The Tigers evened the series by scoring five unanswered runs after falling behind 5-3. Blake Austin led the way as the offense finally broke out, going 4-for-4 with three doubles, two runs and one RBI.
The Tigers scored three in the seventh to take a 4-2 lead, only to see the Rebels tie it with a two-run homer in the top of the eighth. With two outs and nobody on in the bottom of the inning, Damek Tomscha hit a wind-aided home run, his second in two days, to give Auburn a big-time series win.
Auburn 12, Jacksonville State 8
Auburn trailed by eight runs going into the eighth inning. Incredibly, the Tigers took a four-run lead into the ninth. Dan Glevenyak hit two three-run shots in the top of the eighth.
For the second day in a row, the TIgers used a big inning to rally past an in-state foe. Auburn was down 3-2 in the sixth and scored six in the inning to take the lead for good.
Auburn (29-19, 9-15)
at Florida (27-23, 12-12)
Friday, 6 p.m. CT
LHP Conner Kendrick (3-3, 2.34 ERA) vs. RHP Jonathon Crawford (3-5, 4.00 ERA)
Saturday, 6 p.m. CT
LHP Michael O'Neal (8-3, 2.70 ERA) vs. LHP Danny Young (3-4, 3.89 ERA)
Sunday, noon CT
TBA vs. TBA
|Batting average||Garrett Cooper, .358||Taylor Gushue, .306|
|On-base percentage||Garrett Cooper, .470||Zack Powers, .395|
|Runs||Ryan Tella, 39||Casey Turgeon, 40|
|RBIs||Garrett Cooper, 35||Taylor Gushue, 32|
|Doubles||Blake Austin, 13||Justin Shafer, 17|
|Triples||Five players, 1||Gushue and Harrison Bader, 2|
|Home runs||Garrett Cooper, 7||Gushue and Turgeon, 5|
|Stolen bases||Ryan Tella, 13-of-15||Harrison Bader, 11-of-16|
|Errors||Dan Glevenyak, 14||Zack Powers, .9|
|Starting ERA||Conner Kendrick, 2.34||Danny Young, 3.89|
|Relief ERA||Reid Carter, 2.33||Johnny Magliozzi, 1.93|
|Starting BA against||Daniel Koger, .213||Bobby Poyner, .228|
|Relief BA against||Reid Carter, .200||Jay Carmichael, .193|
|Strikeouts||Conner Kendrick, 62||Jonathon Crawford, 56|
|Wins||Michael O'Neal, 8-3||Johnny Magliozzi, 4-1|
|Saves||Terrance Dedrick, 6||Johnny Magliozzi, 11|
Around the SEC
No. 2 Vanderbilt at Kentucky
No. 3 LSU at Texas A&M
Tennessee at No. 11 Arkansas
Georgia at No. 15 South Carolina
No. 21 Mississippi State at Ole Miss
Missouri at Alabama
The Gators have been one of the best programs in the country over the last 10 or so years, reaching the College World Series four times since 2005, including the last three. Florida still has plenty of talent on its roster, but that talent just hasn't been producing enough this year, and the results show. In fact, just by looking at the raw numbers, one could make the argument that Auburn is just as good as UF this season -- and maybe a tad bit better. With that in mind, the Tigers need to go down to Gainesville and win this series.
Yes, it's on the road, and yes, just the name "Florida" stitched across the opposing chest is intimidating. Nevertheless, it's do-or-die time. No matter what happens down the stretch, Auburn is a real longshot to make the NCAA Tournament, but if the Tigers want any shot at all, they need to take two of three from Florida. It would be a huge boost to the RPI, and judging by the stats, there's no reason Auburn can't do it. The Tigers have come up with some clutch hitting and good pitching lately, and if that continues, taking two from the Gators is definitely possible. Florida is just 10-11 against lefty starters this season, so Auburn has the advantage Friday and Saturday night. And don't be surprised if another lefty, Daniel Koger, gets the start for the Tigers on Sunday.