March 14, 2011
AUBURN, Ala. - The No. 24 Auburn baseball team will play Alabama in the annual Capital City Classic on Tuesday night at Montgomery's Riverwalk Stadium. First pitch is set for 7pm, though fans are encouraged to be there by 6:30 pm for all of the pregame festivities. The starting pitching matchup for the non-conference game, in which Auburn is designated as the visiting team, will be Jr. RHP Will Irvin (2-0, 3.86 ERA) vs. So. LHP Taylor Wolfe (1-1, 6.00).
"This is a very important game," Auburn Head Coach John Pawlowski said. "Anytime you get Auburn and Alabama together, no matter if it's chess or checkers, it become important to a lot of people and it's very important to us."
Auburn (11-5) is coming off of a thrilling 10-8, come-from-behind win over No. 7 Arizona State on Sunday while Alabama (11-5) swept Eastern Illinois over the weekend.
The second-best hitting team in the SEC with a .320 team batting average, three different Auburn players carry significant hitting streaks into Tuesday's contest as Casey McElroy is on a career-best 11 game hitting streak, Wes Gilmer is on a career-long 10-game hitting streak and Justin Fradejas has hit in nine straight.
Auburn has won each of the previous Capital City Classics, winning 8-7 with two ninth-inning runs in 2009 and then taking home a 8-6 victory in 2010.
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ALABAMA CRIMSON TIDE (11-5, 0-0 SEC)
Tuesday, March 15 (auburntigers.com audio / CSS / WSFA.com / WKKR 97.7 FM)
Auburn vs. Alabama 7PM Riverwalk Stadium (Montgomery, Ala.)
Jr. RHP Will Irvin (2-0, 3.86) vs. So. LHP Taylor Wolfe (1-1, 6.00)
GOOD GOSH GAMACHE
Jr. IF Dan Gamache took over the team lead in RBI during the Arizona State series, driving in nine runs to bring his total to 17 on the season, tied for seventh in the SEC ... Against the Sun Devils he hit .500 (7-for-14) with three doubles and a triple, establishing a career-high with four RBIs in the Friday night, 8-7, loss and then matching it in Sunday's 10-8 win ... Since the start of March (nine games), he is hitting .412 with four doubles, a triple, a home run (.676 SLG%) and 14 RBI, scoring nine runs.
JUMPING OUT EARLY
Auburn has outscored its opponents 53-8 over the first three innings of games and didn't allow a run in the first three innings of a game until the ninth game of the season (vs. Bethune-Cookman, March 2) ... Of Auburn's eight home runs, five of them have come in the first two innings of games ... Auburn is 5-1 when scoring in the first inning and 10-3 when it scores first.
WE'RE GOING STREAKING
Three different playes bring significant hit streaks into Tuesday's game ... Jr. IF Casey McElroy is on a career-best 11-game hitting streak, Jr. IF Wes Gilmer is on a career-best 10-game hitting streak and Sr. OF Justin Fradejas is on a nine-game hitting streak.
RETURN OF THE MAC
Jr. IF Casey McElroy brings an 11-game hitting streak into Tuesday's game against Alabama and has reached base safely in all 16 games this season ... Going back to the final game of the Radford series, he is hitting .426 (20-for-47) with three doubles, two home runs, 12 RBIs and 10 runs scored ... He needs to reach base safely on Tuesday to match his career-longest streak of 17.
DOUBLE YOUR PLEASURE
Despite hitting just eight home runs this season, eighth in the SEC, Auburn has piled up the doubles, racking up a league-high 45 in 16 games (2.81 per game) ... Sr. 1B Kevin Patterson and Jr. IF Casey McElroy are each tied for fifth in the SEC with seven doubles and Jr. OF Creede Simpson and Jr. IF Dan Gamache are tied for 11th with six.
AU AT THE CAPITAL CITY CLASSIC
Auburn has won each of the previous two Capital City Classics, winning 8-7 in 2009 and 8-6 in 2010 ... The visiting team in odd numbered years, Auburn trailed 7-6 heading to the ninth in `09 before Casey McElroy tripled to lead off the inning, which turned into the tying run, and then Trent Mummey doubled and scored on MVP Ben Jones' two-out double ... Zach Blatt threw the final two innings to pick up the win ... In `10, Auburn trailed 2-1 in the third before breaking through with four runs in the bottom of the third to take a lead it would hold onto for the rest of the game, though Alabama did narrow the gap to a single run in both the fourth and eighth innings.
LAST TIME OUT
Auburn salvaged the final game of its three-game series with No. 7 Arizona State, winning 10-8 thanks to a four-run bottom of the eighth ... Auburn hit .324 as a team during the series but the pitching staff had a 8.00 ERA.
Auburn, the defending SEC Western Division Champions, will start its SEC schedule at home against No. 9 Arkansas ... Auburn won the series in Fayetteville, Ark., last year, which was the second of five consecutive series wins for Auburn, en route to finishing the year 20-10 in league play.