March 31, 2011
The Auburn baseball team will play host to No. 1 Vanderbilt this weekend at Plainsman Park, marking the second time in the last four meetings in which Vanderbilt has entered the series as the top-ranked team in the country.
"This is going to be a big test for us this weekend," Auburn Head Coach John Pawlowski said. "Vanderbilt certainly has a talented team. Everyone talks about the talent they have on the mound but they also have some very good position players. We will see how we respond. We need to play well this weekend to try and get some early momentum and build off of our mid-week win."
Game times for the series are 6pm on Friday and Saturday and 1pm on Sunday. Saturday's game will air live on CSS and ESPN3.com.
Auburn (15-10, 2-4 SEC) will start Jr. RHP Andrew Morris (1-1, 4.32 ERA) on Friday and Jr. RHP Derek Varnadore (3-1, 3.60) on Sunday but has not determined its Saturday starter.
Vanderbilt (23-3, 4-2 SEC) will start Jr. RHP Sonny Gray (5-1, 1.51) on Friday, Jr. LHP Grayson Garvin (4-1, 2.45) on Saturday and Sr. RHP Taylor Hill (2-0, 2.76) on Sunday.
Friday night is 80's Night and fans are encouraged to wear their favorite 80s attire and enjoy music from the 1980s throughout the game. The first 500 fans through the gates on Friday will receive a pair of 80's sunglasses from Logan Square Apartments and there will be a post-game fireworks show.
Sunday is Family Day and fans can purchase four tickets, four hot dogs and four drinks for $30 (advance purchase only) and all youth 12-and-under can run the bases after the game, presented by ALLKids. The first 500 fans through the gates will also receive Team Trading Card Set #2 from Longhorn Steakhouse.
Follow Auburn baseball on twitter at twitter.com/AUTigerBaseball.
Complete Release in PDF Format
AUBURN TIGERS (15-10, 2-4 SEC)
#1 VANDERBILT COMMODORES (23-3, 4-2 SEC)
WEEKEND PITCHING ROTATIONS
Friday, April 1 (auburntigers.com video & audio / WKKR 97.7 FM)
#1 Vanderbilt at Auburn 6PM Plainsman Park
Jr. RHP Sonny Gray (5-1, 1.51) vs. Jr. RHP Andrew Morris (1-1, 4.32)
Saturday, April 2 (auburntigers.com audio / CSS & ESPN3.com / WKKR 97.7 FM)
#1 Vanderbilt at Auburn 6PM Plainsman Park
Jr. LHP Grayson Garvin (4-1, 2.45) vs. TBA
Sunday, April 3 (auburntigers.com video & audio /WKKR 97.7 FM)
#1 Vanderbilt at Auburn 1PM Plainsman Park
Sr. RHP Taylor Hill (2-0, 2.76) vs. Jr. RHP Derek Varnadore (3-1, 3.60)
BURN VS. NUMBER 1s
Auburn will be playing the No. team in the country this weekend when it plays host to Vanderbilt ... This will be Auburn's first series against a top-ranked team since facing No. 1 Vanderbilt in 2007, a series loss at Plainsman Park ... Auburn played a single game against No. 1 Georgia Tech in 2004, a 4-2 loss at Plainsman Park ... Auburn's prior series against the nation's top team was in 1997 when Auburn went to No. 1 LSU, dropping a pair of games.
PLAYING WITH A LEAD
Auburn is 6-2 when it scores in the first inning and 12-5 when it scores first, outscoring opponents 62-31 over the first three innings of games ... Since John Pawlowski became the head coach at Auburn prior to the 2009 season, Auburn is 45-13 (.776) when it scores in the first inning and 66-23 (.742) when it scores first in a game.
MORRIS GETS SERIES-OPENING NOD
Andrew Morris will make his first start in SEC play on Friday night against No. 1 Vanderbilt ... In one start this season (at Jacksonville State - 3/22), he is 0-0 with a 4.26 ERA, allowing three runs on eight hits and a walk in 6 1/3 innings, striking out three.
RETURNS FROM C-MAC
Casey McElroy currently leads the team in runs scored (22) and RBI (24) and would become the third player in the last five years to lead the team in both categories should he hold onto it for the rest of the season, joining Josh Donaldson in 2007 and Hunter Morris in 2010 ... Prior to Donaldson, the last player to lead the team in both categories was Frank Thomas in 1989.
RHP Ethan Wallen leads the team in ERA (1.90) and saves (four) and is third on the team in strike outs (20) ... In 11 appearances, he has inherited 19 runners, allowing eight to score (42 percent), none of which have come in his last three appearances ... He has also retired the first hitter he faced 73 percent of the time (8-for-11) ... If he met the minimum requirements to be ranked among the SEC leaders (1.0 IP/Game), he would rank eighth in the league in ERA.
Tony Caldwell displayed his cannon of an arm over the weekend, throwing out four of the five Mississippi State runners trying to steal a base on him, including Nick Vickerson who entered the weekend a perfect 17-for-17 in stolen base attempts ... A Johnny Bench Award Candidate as the nation's top catcher for the third time in his career, Caldwell has thrown out 10 of 18 attempted base stealers (56 percent) and has picked a man off first while defensively he has only been charged two passed balls while starting 19 games behind the plate.
LAST TIME OUT
Auburn halted its four-game losing streak with a 6-1 win over No. 21 Troy in which all five pitchers combined to hold Troy to one unearned run on three hits and five walks.
Auburn beings a seven-game road trip where it will play at Troy (April 5), at Kentucky (April 8-10) and at LSU (April 15-17) ... Auburn's next home game after Sunday will be on Tuesday, April 19 vs. South Alabama.