Feb. 22, 2007
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2007 Record (7-1, 0-0 SEC)
National Rankings: 29 by CB, RV in SW & NCBWA
Fri: Jr. LHP Matt Dobbins (1-1, 3.68) vs. So. RHP Bryan Woodall (2-0, 0.00)
Sat: Jr. LHP Jon Kibler (0-0, 0.00) vs. So. RHP Paul Burnside (2-0, 0.00)
Sun: So. LHP Brandon Sage (0-1, 5.40) vs. So. LHP Evan Crawford (1-0, 0.00)
Live Stats: usajaguars.com
Radio: WMXA-FM (96.7) [Fri. & Sun.]
WKKR-FM (97.7) [Sat.]
Live Streaming: auburntigers.com (audio only)
Announcer: Nathan Ealy
Tigers Hit The Road For Coca-Cola Classic
The Tigers are in their third season under head coach Tom Slater (63-61 at AU/111-161 overall) ... Auburn will play its' first road games of the season this weekend after opening the year with a 7-1 record at home ... Auburn's 7-1 record is its best start since 2004 ... It is also the seventh time Auburn has started 7-1 or better since 1993 ... Auburn struckout a season-high 12 in Tuesday's win over Troy and has 68 K's on the season (compared to just 21 BB) ... Five different pitchers have picked up a win for the Tigers so far this season ... The starting pitcher has earned the win in each of the last four games ... Fr. INFs Robert Brooks and Eric Skinner have each recorded a hit in 7 of 8 games this season ... The pair are hitting a combined 21-for-64 (.328) ... Skinner and So. OF Mike Bianucci each have team-best four-game hitting streaks entering the weekend ... Jr. C/IF Josh Donalson has started 94 consecutive games for the Tigers (40-C, 54-3B) ... Sr. OF Bruce Edwards is a perfect 22-for-22 in stolen bases dating back to the 2005 season ... Auburn's bullpen has allowed just 5 ER in 36.0 IP (1.25 ERA) ... Auburn is ranked by Collegiate Baseball for the first time since April 18, 2005 ... Sunday's game against South Alabama will be the second of eight vs. in-state opponents for Auburn (1-0) ... AU has faced all three teams previously (vs. Jacksonville - 10-8; vs. Michigan State - 2-0; vs. South Alabama - 18-41).
Scouting The Coca-Cola Classic
Auburn enters the Coca-Cola Classic with the best winning percentage (.875) and the highest ranking (29th by Collegiate Baseball) of the four clubs.
Auburn's first opponent, Jacksonville, is 4-5 on the year with a pair of wins over both Florida A&M and Bethune Cookman. JU is hitting .261 [led by Mike McCallister (.385)], and has a team ERA of 6.15. Matt Dobbins, the Dolphins' Friday starter, has started three games, surrendering six runs on 16 hits in 14.2 innings.
Michigan State, the opposition on Saturday, is playing its' first games of the season this weekend. The Spartans went 23-30 a year ago, finishing 7th in the Big Ten, and return 19 lettermen from that squad. MSU hit .315 last season, but lost its top three hitters off of that team, and had a team ERA of 6.16.
Auburn's final opponent on the weekend will be host South Alabama. The Jaguars are 3-2 on the season, having taken a series from Mercer to start the season before splitting a pair of midweek games this week. South Alabama is hitting .309 entering the weekend while the pitching staff owns a 5.93 ERA. Brandon Sage, Sunday's starter, has thrown just 5.0 innings on the season, allowing 4 runs on five hits and three walks.
Auburn At The Classic
Auburn's trip to Mobile for the Coca-Cola Classic will be its first since the 2001 season when AU defeated Minnesota, North Carolina and South Alabama. Auburn owns an 11-8 record in tournament games played in Mobile, spanning nine different seasons and dating to the 1986 campaign, and has won the last six tournament games played there.
Auburn Vs. The Field
Auburn is a combined 30-49 against the three teams that will be in Mobile for the tournament this weekend.
The Tigers are 10-8 against Jacksonville, with the last meeting coming in the 2001 NCAA Tournament in Tallahassee, Fla., in which AU defeated the Dolphins twice.
Auburn is 2-0 all-time against Michigan State with the last meeting coming the 1996 Coca-Cola Classic in Mobile, a 10-9, 10-inning Auburn win.
South Alabama leads the series with Auburn, 41-18, and is 23-8 against the Tigers in Mobile. Auburn is 3-4 against South Alabama in tournament contests in Mobile, having won the last three.
Tom Slater vs. The Field
Tom Slater is 2-1 against the Coca-Cola Classic field with all three contests coming against South Alabama. Slater's Tigers have won the last two meetings with the Jaguars, defeating USA, 3-2, in Mobile in 2006 and 13-5 in the opening game of the 2005 NCAA Tallahassee Regional.
Tigers Hurlers Are 4-for-4
Auburn's starting pitchers have all picked up the victory in the last four games for the Tigers with So. RHP Bryan Woodall starting the trend in the 9-2 win over UNC Greensboro last weekend. So. Paul Burnside and So. LHP Evan Crawford also earned wins over UNC Greensboro while Fr. RHP Taylor Thompson continued the trend in the 11-3 victory over Troy. In the four games, the four starters have combined to throw 21.0 innings and have a combined 0.86 ERA.
Making the Most Of Opportunities
Auburn has had some very timely hitting this year as the Tigers are hitting .323 with runners on and .339 with runners in scoring position, both of which are considerably higher than the team average of .318. Last year Auburn hit .276 as a team, hitting .279 with runners on and .274 with runners in scoring position.
Tigers Ranked 29th by CB
Collegiate Baseball has the Tigers ranked 29th in this week's Top 30 poll. It marks the first time the Tigers have been ranked by Collegiate Baseball since Apr. 18, 2005, when Auburn was 23rd in the poll before dropping out for the final eight polls.
With his seven stolen bases this season, Sr. OF Bruce Edwards has put together a string of 22 consecutive stolen bases without being caught. Having gone 7-for-7 this year and 14-for-14 as a junior, Edwards was 13-for-17 as a sophomore but was thrown out on his 16th attempt on May 22, 2005 vs. Alabama. The very next game he started his current streak, successfully stealing second base off of PJ Walters of South Alabama in the third inning of the first game of the 2005 NCAA Regional in Tallahassee.
Taking One For The Team
Through the first eight games of the season, Auburn's hitters have continued to do the little things to help the team out offensively. Entering Friday's game vs. Jacksonville, Auburn has already laid down 10 sac bunts and had five sac flys, led by Fr. INF Eric Skinner's six total sacrifices. Last season at this point, Auburn had just one sac bunt and three sac flys and finished the year with 46 total sacrifices.
Tiger Pen Strong Again
The Auburn bullpen has earned high praise from head coach Tom Slater for its dominating performance over the first eight games of the season. The Tigers have used nine different relievers to throw 36.0 innings and combined they have allowed just five earned runs on 24 hits and eight walks while striking out 41. Combined, the bullpen has a 1.25 ERA and a .192 opponent batting average.
Since Slater has been the head coach at Auburn, the bullpen has had a combined 3.39 ERA.
Brooks Good For Two
In five out of the first eight games this season, freshman Robert Brooks has pounded out two or more hits and has driven in a total of eight runs (which is third on the team).
Donaldson Nearing 100
Jr. C/IF Josh Donaldson has started 94 consecutive games for the Tigers, making 40 starts behind the plate and 54 at third base. Should he start every game this season [not including postseason] he would finish the year with 142 consecutive games started.
Auburn's freshman class has had an immediate impact just eight games into the season. Through the first eight games, Auburn's freshman have a combined .322 batting average, led by Robert Brooks' .394, and have driven in 22 out of 62 runs on the year (35 percent).
Auburn's starting pitchers have already recorded three quality starts after registering just seven in all of 2006. So. RHP Bryan Woodall has collected a quality start in both of his outings this season while So. RHP Paul Burnside also registered one in his first start of the season. So. LHP Evan Crawford led all Auburn starters with five quality starts in `06 while Chris Dennis collected the other two.
3 Games, 3 Pitchers, 3 Saves
Three different relivers earned saves during the UNC Greensboro series with Jr. RHP Brett Butts picking up the save on Friday, So. RHP Luke Greinke doing it on Saturday and Fr. RHP Scott Schuman closing out the game on Sunday. The three combined to throw 6.0 innings and struckout a combined six UNCG hitters.
Going Up The Middle
Going up the middle, Auburn's catchers, middle infielders and centerfielder have had a very good start to the season. In seven games, the four positions (which have been manned by five different players) have a combined .341 batting average (43-for-126) with 12 doubles and 33 RBIs (only games played at that position counted).
Auburn's sophomore class - Tom Slater's first recruiting class - has had a very good start to the season both offensively and on the mound. At the plate the sophomore class is hitting .362 (compared to the team average of .318) while on the mound they are a combined 5-0 with a 1.64 ERA in 38.1 IP (out of 75.0, team ERA of 2.28).
Dennis Excels Back In Pen
Sr. RHP Chris Dennis seems to be comfortable back in his role of reliever. In his career, Dennis has a 3.11 ERA in 43 relief appearances, compared to a 5.90 ERA as a starter. His K/9 is also much better as a reliever (10.07) than as a starter (5.90).
Auburn has outscored its opponents 25-7 from the sixth inning on.