March 5, 2007
AUBURN, Ala. -
Riding the momentum created by its series win over then-No. 10 Arizona State, the Auburn baseball team has risen to No. 13 in the country as it gets ready for a Tuesday contest against Davidson at 6pm CT at Plainsman Park.
Off to its best start since the 2004 season, Tuesday's game is the fifth in a season-long 10-game home stand for the Tigers, which Auburn started 3-1.
Tuesday night is Youth night and youth 17-and-under get in free with a cap and glove.
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2007 Record (13-2, 0-0 SEC)
National Rankings: 13 by CB, 17 in SW, 18 by NCBWA, 24 by BA
Tues: TBA vs. Fr. RHP Taylor Thompson (1-0, 3.29)
Live Stats: auburntigers.com
Radio: WMXA-FM (96.7)
Live Streaming: auburntigers.com (audio & video)
Announcers: Rod Bramblett & Andy Burcham
Tigers Continue Homestand vs. Davidson
The Tigers are in their third season under head coach Tom Slater (69-62 at AU/119-162 overall) ... Auburn improved to 13-2 on the season with a 3-1 mark last week ... The 13-2 start is the best start for Auburn since the 2004 season when AU was 14-1 at the same point ... Auburn's series win over #10 Arizona State marked the seventh three-game series victory over a top 25 team for Tom Slater's teams in two-plus seasons at Auburn ... Both of Auburn's wins over Arizona State were come-back wins, giving Auburn seven on the season ... Auburn's bullpen had an astounding 0.64 ERA in 14.0 innings of relief against ASU ... Auburn's 131 runs scored in 15 games is the most this early in a season since the 2002 team scored 143 in 15 games ... Jr. C/IF Josh Donalson has started 101 consecutive games for the Tigers (44-C, 57-3B) ... Donaldson hit a home run in both of Auburn's wins over Arizona State ... It marked the fourth time in his career that the junior has hit a homer in back-to-back games ... So. RHP Justin Bristow has not allowed a run in 7.2 innings of relief (five appearances), surrendering just two base hits and an intentional walk ... Fr. RHP Scott Shuman earned a pair of saves over the last week and has a 0.00 ERA on the season in 10.0 innings (six appearances) ... In his last four outings, Shuman is 1-0 with three saves ... Auburn's team ERA of 3.26 is over a run lower than it was 15 games into the year last year (4.73, AU record: 8-7).
Scouting The Wildcats
Davidson enters Tuesday night's game sporting an 8-1 record having gone 3-1 last week with a mid-week win at Gardner Webb and a series victory over Furman over the weekend.
The Wildcats are hitting .346 as a team and the seven players that have started all nine games are hitting a combined .362, led by Blake Osborn's .44 and Chris FitzPatrick's .406.
On the mound the Wildcats have a 7.35 ERA having allowed 67 earned runs in 82.0 innings.
Tom Slater vs. Dick Cooke
Tom Slater is 5-5 against Davidson Head Coach Dick Cooke, and has won the last four meetings between the two. While the head coach at VMI, Slater was 4-5 against Cooke when both competed in the Southern Conference, going 1-2 against him in 2001, 0-3 in 2002 and 3-0 in 2003. Slater's Tigers then beat Davidson, 8-6, last season on the Plains.
Tigers In the Midweeks
Auburn enters Tuesday's game against Davidson 2-1 in midweek contests. The Tigers are hitting just .243 in midweek games but have a 1.80 ERA and have won the last two midweek games they have played.
T. Thompson Gets Fourth Start
Fr. RHP Taylor Thompson will make his fourth start of the season on Tuesday, having started all of Auburn's mid-week games thus far. In 13.2 innings, Thompson has allowed five runs on 13 hits and six walks while striking out 10.
Bristow Perfect In Role
So. RHP Justin Bristow has been perfect since moving into the middle relief role, not allowing a run in 7.2 innings (five appearances). On Sunday he registered his first career save with 0.2 innings of work, issuing an intentional walk before inducing two fly outs with the bases loaded. That came on the heels of Saturday's heroics when he induced a bases-loaded double-play to end the eighth in Auburn's thrilling 11-8, comeback victory over Arizona State.
On the year, Bristow has allowed just two hits (a single and a double) and an intentional pass while striking out four when coming out of the bullpen.
Tigers Against The Ranked
Auburn's three-game series win over No. 10 Arizona State was the seventh series win over a top-25 program in Tom Slater's two-plus years at the helm of the Tigers. In Slater's first year, the Tigers took series victories over No. 24 Clemson (2-1), No. 3 LSU (2-1), No. 7 Arkansas (2-1) and No. 18 Ole Miss (2-1). In 2006 the Tigers downed No. 20 Kentucky (2-1) and No. 8 Mississippi State (2-1), giving Slater four series wins over top-10 teams.
Boyd's World RPI
Auburn is number two in the RPI according to Boyd Nation at Boyd'sWorld.com, behind Southern Miss.
Auburn will play three games against fellow top-10 RPI holder South Carolina and 20 more against teams in the 11-50 range, giving Auburn 23 games against top-50 RPI teams.
Tigers Move Up To 13th
After debuting in the polls at 29th in the Feb. 19th Collegiate Baseball poll, the Tigers have climbed all the way to 13th in the latest Collegiate Baseball Top 30. The last time Auburn was ranked that high was on April 19, 2004, when the same organization had the Tigers 13th in the country.
Tiger Rankings Under Slater
The ranking by Collegiate Baseball on Feb. 19th marked the earliest that Auburn has been ranked in a season under Tom Slater. The Tigers did not enter the rankings at all during the 2006 season but spent a total of four weeks in the top 25 in 2005, debuting in the March 28th poll.
The current ranking of No. 13 is the highest Auburn has been ranked under Slater.
Auburn Vs. The SoCon
Auburn is 49-9 (.845) all-time against current members of the Southern Conference. Tuesday's game will be Auburn's second against a SoCon member as the Tigers swept UNC Greensboro to start the eight-game winnings streak earlier this year.
Never Count `Em Out
Seven of Auburn's 13 wins this season have been come-from-behind wins, including its incredible 11-8 win on Saturday against Arizona State after trailing 8-0. Since Tom Slater has been the coach at Auburn the Tigers have tallied 35 come-from-behind wins, proving Slater's Tigers have no quit in them.
Tigers Off The Bench
Tom Slater has found much success when going to his bench as the non-starters are hitting .440 in 25 at bats on the year. Andy Bennett, Bruce Edwards, Ryan Jenkins and Philip Stringer are all batting 1.000 when entering a game off the pine while Ryan Stanley leads the team with three RBIs off the bench.
Of Auburn's 119 RBI on the season, 50 of them have come with two outs in an inning. Jr. C/IF Josh Donaldson and Fr. IF Eric Skinner lead the team with eight two-out RBI while So. OF Mike Bianucci is next on the team with seven.
Breaking Out The Big Bats
Auburn has scored double-digit runs in seven out of 15 contests this season and has already tallied 131 runs on the year. The last time Auburn had scored as many as 131 runs in its first 15 games was in 2002, when AU pushed 143 runs across the plate in the first 15 games en route to a 34-26 record and a berth in the Tuscaloosa Regional. That team finished the year with 399 runs. At the current pace of 8.73 runs per game, AU would finish the regular season with 489 runs, which would rank sixth in Auburn history. Four of the five seasons in which Auburn scored more than 489 runs came while Slater was an assistant at Auburn.
Jr. C/IF Josh Donaldson and So. OF Mike Bianucci have a combined .826 slugging percentage, connecting for 21 singles, 11 doubles, a triple and 11 home runs in 109 combined at-bats. The pair are ranked second and fifth, respectively, in the SEC in slugging.
The pair ended the 2006 season with a combined .521 slugging percentage, slapping 29 doubles, one triple and 18 home runs in 409 at-bats.
Tiger Pen Strong Again
The Tigers have used 10 different relievers to throw 64.1 innings and combined they have allowed just 10 earned runs on 44 hits and 19 walks while striking out 65. Combined, the bullpen has a 1.40 ERA and a .192 opponent batting average.
Against Arizona State, the bullpen was even better, surrendering just one earned run on 11 hits and five walks, striking out nine and recording two wins and two saves.
In four weekends of play, the Auburn bullpen has had three weekends of allowing two-or-less earned runs while the fourth weekend, which was against three different teams at the South Alabama tournament, the bullpen surrendered just four earned runs.
Through 15 games this season, Auburn has had five different relievers earn a save [Justin Bristow, Brett Butts, Chris Dennis, Luke Greinke and Scott Shuman (3)]. The last time AU had five guys earns saves in a single season was in 2003 when Steven Register (16), Josh Bell (2), Eric Brandon (1), Cory Dueitt (1) and Levale Speigner (1) each earned saves.