March 22, 2012
The Auburn baseball team will face its second consecutive top-12 team this weekend when it plays host to No. 8 LSU in a three-game series at Plainsman Park. Winners of three straight, Auburn goes into the series 13-8, 2-1 SEC while LSU is 17-4, 2-1 SEC. Both teams sit a game out of first place in the SEC West behind 3-0 Arkansas.
FRIDAY, MARCH 23 6PM CT PLAINSMAN PARK WKKR-FM 97.7 AUBURNTIGERS.COM LIVE VIDEO & AUDIO
RHP Kevin Gausman (4-0, 1.25) vs. RHP Derek Varnadore (1-2, 4.94)
SATURDAY, MARCH 24 3PM CT PLAINSMAN PARK WKKR-FM 97.7 AUBURNTIGERS.COM LIVE VIDEO & AUDIO
RHP Ryan Eades (4-1, 1.95) vs. LHP Will Kendall (3-0, 1.69)
SUNDAY, MARCH 25 1PM CT PLAINSMAN PARK WKKR-FM 97.7 AUBURNTIGERS.COM LIVE VIDEO & AUDIO
RHP Aaron Nola (3-1, 3.12) vs. LHP Daniel Koger (1-1, 2.05)
Game times for the series are 6pm on Friday, 3pm on Saturday and 1pm on Sunday.
Friday is Foursquare Friday and Beach Night and the first 500 Auburn students into the game will receive a Frat Tank courtesy of Logan Square Apartments. On Saturday the first 500 fans will receive a mini bat courtesy of Cooks Pest Control while Sunday is Family Day and Kids Run the Bases.
Auburn has seen a run stellar pitching of late as its staff has held opponents to five-or-less runs in 10 straight games. Auburn has gone 7-3 over that stretch with a 2.33 team ERA while the offense has its opponents 56-27 in the process.
Auburn is in search of a second straight SEC series win after taking two-of-three from then No. 12 Ole Miss. The last time Auburn won its first two SEC series was in 2003.
GAME NOTES GAMES 22-24 #8 LSU (17-4, 2-1 SEC) AT AUBURN (13-8, 2-1 SEC)
AUBURN ALL-TIME VS. LSU
LSU leads the all-time series by 20 games (85-65) since 1949, when Auburn's complete records begin ... Auburn has won each of the last two series and is trying for a third straight series win for the first time since it won three straight from 1988-90, with two of those series wins coming at Baton Rouge.
FIRST TIMERS: Auburn's three starting pitchers this week - Derek Varnadore, Will Kendall and Daniel Koger - will all be making their first career apperances against LSU this weekend ... Varnadore missed last year's series after undergoing an MRI that revealed just soreness while Kendall made just five relief appearances all of last season, none of them in SEC play.
Zach Blatt: Had his longest career outing in last season's series opener at Baton Rouge, tossing 6 1/3 innings and allowing four runs on five hits and four walks while striking out four in Auburn's 8-7 win ... That was the only appearance in his career against LSU.
Cory Luckie: Has made just one career appearance against LSU, it coming last year on Saturday as he clinched the series with 6 2/3 innings of one-run ball, striking out a career-high-tying nine in the 3-1 win.
AT THE PLATE: Auburn's hitters have a combined seven career hits (in 34 at bats, .206 average) against LSU pitching, with Bobby Andrews, Creede Simpson and Cullen Wacker each collecting two in their respective careers.
Auburn has held its opponents to five runs or less in each of its last 10 games, dating back to the 13-1 win over Charleston Southern on March 3 ... In those 10 games Auburn has outscored its opponents, 56-27, and has gone 7-3 ... The staff ERA was 2.33 over that stretch, dropping the overall team mark from 4.07 to 3.42 ... The last time the team had such a successful run was from Feb. 22-March 9, 2004 when the team ran off a 10-game winning streak in which it didn't allow more than five runs in any game ... Auburn outscored its opponents, 77-27, and the team ERA was 2.30.
RUN LIKE THE WIND
Auburn entered the week sixth nationally with 53 steals and has now stolen 57 stolen bases (in 77 attempts, 74 percent), surpassing what the team did in 58 games in 2011 ... Auburn's current pace of 2.71 steals per game has it ending the regular season with 152 steals ... The Auburn record for stolen bases in a season is 116 in 1974 and the team has eclipsed the century mark just two other times, in 2007 (105) and 1971 (101) ... The SEC record is 215 done by Tennessee in 63 games in 2000.
PITCHING LEADS THE WAY
The Auburn pitching staff had a fantastic weekend at No. 12 Ole Miss, surrendering just eight runs over three games (2.7 R/g) as the team took two-out-of-three on SEC opening weekend ... The staff combined for a 2.77 ERA, with the bullpen working 8 1/3 innings of shutout baseball with a win and two saves ... The staff also had a .200 batting average against.
SEC OPENING SERIES WINS
Auburn won its SEC opening series for the fourth straight season ... When Auburn hosts No. 8 LSU this weekend it will be trying to win its first two SEC series for the first time since 2003.
CUTTING DOWN THE LOBS
After going through the first 15 in games in which Auburn left an average of 10.5 runners on base per game, the team has significantly cut that down over the last six games, leaving just 32 on base for an average of 5.3 per game ... Auburn has gone 4-2 over the last six after being 9-6 through the first 15.
First baseman Garrett Cooper has reached base safely in all 20 games he has played and is currently on a seven-game hitting streak ... Over the last seven games he 9-26 (.346) with five runs scored.
TELLA ME ABOUT IT
Ryan Tella has reached base safely in 18 straight games and has been on base in all but one game this season, the third game of the year ... He currently leads the team with 13 multi-hit games and two of the three games he is hitless in he drew multiple walks ... He comes into the weekend among the SEC leaders in batting average (.442, 2nd), on base percentage (.550, 1st), hits (34, 3rd), walks (18, T-3rd) and steals (8, 4th) ... His on base percentage of .552 entering the week was seventh in the country and his 18 walks were 24th.
2 FOR 20?
With Creede Simpson (15) and Jay Gonzalez (14) stealing bases at a frenetic pace, the duo, which is one-two in the SEC in steals, is attempting to become the first set of Auburn teammates to steal 20-plus bases in a single season since Tyler Johnstone (24) and Clete Thomas (23) combined for 47 steals in 2005 ... The pair entered the week with 14 steals, which was tied for 13th nationally.
Follow Auburn Baseball on twitter at twitter.com/AUTigerBaseball.
Auburn Series Notes