March 26, 2009
AUBURN, Ala. -
Auburn and Vanderbilt both enter this weekend's SEC series at 2-4 in conference play and in need of a series win as Auburn was swept by Arkansas last weekend and Vanderbilt lost two-of-three at Kentucky. The matchup not only pits two teams trying to climb the conference standings but also two coaches who spent five years together on the same coaching staff at Clemson under Coach Jack Leggett from 1994-99 in Auburn Head Coach John Pawlowski and Vanderbilt Head Coach Tim Corbin.
"To have the opportunity to sit next to Tim Corbin for five years, to learn and to see how he handled himself, was a great experience and very educational for me," Pawlowski said.
The pitching rotation for the weekend for Auburn will be So. LHP Grant Dayton (2-2, 2.67 ERA) on Friday and R-Fr. RHP Jon Luke Jacobs on Saturday (2-0, 4.97) while the coaching staff has yet to decide on a Sunday starter.
Vanderbilt will use the rotation of Jr. LHP Mike Minor (1-2, 3.41), So. RHP Caleb Cotham (3-2, 3.90) and Sr. RHP Nick Christiani (3-0, 4.78) in that order over the weekend.
"The SEC, top to bottom, has some really good arms and Vanderbilt is no exception to that rule," Pawlowski said. "After a tough weekend last weekend, it will be a test and a challenge with their arms versus our hitters."
Both teams enter the weekend with identical .306 team batting averages but Vanderbilt holds a considerable edge in staff ERA's, checking in at 3.75 compared to Auburn's 5.31. The most glaring statistical differences come in home runs, which Auburn has 51 to Vanderbilt's 15, and stolen bases, where Vanderbilt has 47 in 62 attempts while Auburn has 10 in 18 tries.
Game times for the series are 6pm CT on Friday, 3pm on Saturday and 1pm on Sunday. The first 500 fans to Friday's game will receive a jersey koozie from Logan Square Apartments while the first 500 into Sunday's game will receive set No. 2 of the 2009 Team Trading Card Set courtesy of Air Force ROTC and all kids 12-and-under may run the bases after the game. It is also Family Day where fans can purchase four tickets, four hot dogs and four drinks for just $50.
Vanderbilt Commodores (16-8, 2-4 SEC) at Auburn Tigers (16-8, 2-4 SEC)
Friday, March 27 - Sundya, March 29 Plainsman Park Auburn, AL
Radio: WKKR-FM 97.7 TV: none
Mar. 27 vs. Vanderbilt Jr. LHP Mike Minor (1-2, 3.41) vs. So. LHP Grant Dayton (2-2, 2.67)
Mar. 28 vs. Vanderbilt So. RHP Caleb Cotham (3-2, 3.90) vs. R-Fr. RHP Jon Luke Jacobs (2-0, 4.97)
Mar. 29 vs. Vanderbilt Sr. RHP Nick Christiani (3-0, 4.78) vs. TBA
AUBURN AND VANDERBILT LOOK TO BOUNCE BACK FROM LOST WEEKENDS: Auburn and Vanderbilt come into the weekend series having lost SEC series last weekend with Auburn being swept at home by Arkansas and Vanderbilt losing two out of three in Lexington, Ky. ... Both teams are 2-4 in conference play and part of a four-team tie for eighth in the conference standings, one game behind three teams at 3-3.
LEGGETT'S LIMBS: Both Auburn Head Coach John Pawlowski and Vanderbilt Head Coach Tim Corbin are products off of Clemson Head Coach Jack Leggett's coaching tree ... Pawlowski spent five years as an assistant to Leggett at Clemson (1994-1998) while Corbin was there from 1994-2002 before taking the Vanderbilt head job ... In 1997, Baseball America touted the Clemson coaching staff as one of the top five "College Recruiting Staffs" in the country.
HOME SWEET HOME: Auburn is 12-5 at home this season, hitting at a .321 clip with 85 extra-base hits (43 doubles, six triples, 36 home runs) while the pitching staff has posted a 5.04 home ERA, down 0.27 points against the overall ERA.
COMEBACK KIDS: Of Auburn's 16 wins this season, seven of them have featured Auburn comebacks, six of which came after the fifth inning ... The latest come-from-behind win was an 18-7 win at Samford on Tuesday, March 24 in which Auburn found itself trailing, 7-4, after the fifth.
AT THE PLATE
CASEY AT THE BAT: Fr. IF Casey McElroy is on a career-best six-game hitting streak and has collected multi-hit games in each of the last four, finishing the Arkansas series a team-best 6-for-12 with two doubles and two runs scored, driving in a run ... In 24 starts at short this season, he is hitting .299 with seven doubles and three home runs to go along with a .939 fielding percentage ... Since the calendar changed to March, he is hitting .365, which is second to only Justin Hargett's .382, with a .667 slugging percentage (six doubles, two triples, three home runs).
EARLY RISERS: Auburn has outscored its opponents 32-7 in first innings and 54-18 over the first two innings this season, hitting 15 first-inning home runs and four second-inning homers ... Of the seven first-inning runs allowed, three were against Florida State (over two games) while the other four came in the series finale with Arkansas (March 22) ... So. OF Trent Mummey has four leadoff home runs on the season while So. OF Brian Fletcher, So. OF/IF Kevin Patterson and Jr. IF Joseph Sanders have each hit three first-inning homers.
SOLOISTS: Of Auburn's 51 home runs, 30 of them have been solo shots, 12 have been two run shots, seven have been three-run homers and two have been of the grand slam variety.
ON THE MOUND
STAT LINE: Auburn is 11th in the SEC with a 5.31 ERA and is the only staff in the league allowing oppenents to hit over .300 against them (.308) ... The staff also ranks tied with Vanderbilt for fifth in the league in strikeouts (199) and is 10th in walks allowed (84).
IN THE FIELD
CALDWELL'S CANNON: So. C Tony Caldwell has already thrown out 11 runners (out of 30) attempting to steal a base this season (37 percent) ... Last season the catching trio of Caldwell, Sr. Ryan Jenkins and and So. Kevin Patterson threw out just 15 of 63 (24 percent) with Caldwell nabbing 6 of 25 (24 percent).
Complete Notes in PDF Format