April 5, 2007
The Auburn baseball teams heads south to Baton Rouge, La., this weekend for a three-game series with SEC West foe LSU. Game times for the series are 7pm CT on Friday, 3pm on Saturday and 1pm on Sunday.
Auburn enters the weekend 21-11, 1-8 SEC, while LSU is 17-13-1, 3-5-1 SEC. Auburn last traveled to Alex Box Stadium in 2005 and came away with the series win, collecting victories on Friday night and Sunday afternoon.
All three games can be heard live in the Auburn-Opelika area on WMXA-FM (96.7) and online at www.auburntigers.com.
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2007 Record (21-11, 1-8 SEC)
National Rankings: RV in ESPN
Fri: So. RHP Paul Burnside (4-1, 3.50) vs. Jr. LHP Charlie Furbush (3-3, 3.97)
Sat: Fr. RHP Taylor Thompson (3-0, 3.48) vs. So. LHP Ryan Byrd (4-0, 3.48)
Sun: So. RHP Justin Bristow (1-2, 5.48) vs. Fr. RHP T.J. Forrest (1-1, 3.18)
Television: COX cable system [Sunday only]
Radio: WMXA-FM (96.7)
Announcers: Rod Bramblett & Andy Burcham
Live Stats: lsusports.net
Live Streaming: auburntigers.com
Tigers Head To Baton Rouge
The Tigers are in their third season under head coach Tom Slater
(77-71 at AU/127-171 overall) ... Auburn is 21-11, 1-8 SEC on the season ... Auburn is looking to win its second straight and fifth in its last eight series at Alex Box ... Auburn is 4-3 away from Plainsman Park this season ... The Tigers are hitting .274 in true away games and .280 away from Plainsman Park overall ... The pitching staff has a 3.39 ERA away from Plainsman Park ... The Montgomery duo of RHPs Paul Burnside
and Taylor Thompson
are a combined 7-1 with a 3.49 ERA and 66 strikeouts ... AU struckout 13 South Alabama hitters on Tuesday, its ninth double-figure strikeout output this season ... Auburn's true freshmen are hitting .302 (101-for-334) ... Auburn is currently 60-75 in stolen bases and has three players with 10-plus steals ... Auburn has outscored its opponents 42-10 in the first inning and is 13-4 when leading after one inning ... Sr. OF Bruce Edwards
is in sole posession of 9th on Auburn's career steals list with 46 ... Jr. C/IF Josh Donalson has started 118 consecutive games for the Tigers (53-C, 65-3B) ... Auburn had seven former players on opening day MLB Rosters.
Scouting The Fighting Tigers
LSU enters the weekend two-and-a-half games in front of Auburn in the SEC with a 3-5-1 conference mark, capturing a series win at Alabama last weekend, a win at South Carolina and a tie with Kentucky.
LSU is hitting a SEC-low .249 and carries a 5.10 ERA, which is 11th in the 12-team league.
Blake Dean (.333) and Ryan Schimpf (.322) are the only Tigers that are currently hitting over .300 while only two pitchers have an ERA under 3.00 (Jared Bradford - 2.94; Nolan Cain - 2.84).
The Auburn-LSU Series
LSU leads the all-time series with Auburn, 76-59 and has won four of the last five series played between the two. The last time the teams met in Baton Rouge, Auburn won the opening game of the series, 6-4, and then won the rubber game on Sunday, 7-5.
Auburn At The Box
Auburn is 21-39 all time at Alex Box stadium but since 1993 has won more series at the Box than any other SEC school. In its last seven trips to Alex Box Stadium, Auburn has won four series and lost three. The Tigers won 2-of-3 in Baton Rouge for series victories in 1993, 1995, 2001 and 2005. Since 1993, LSU has lost just 16 of 65 conference series at home; four to Auburn, three to Miss. State, two to Alabama, South Carolina and Vanderbilt, and once each to Arkansas, Georgia, and Kentucky.
The Montgomery Monopoly
So. RHP Paul Burnside and Fr. RHP Taylor Thompson will occupy the first two spots in the weekend rotation for the first time this season. Both hailing from Montgomery (Burnside went to Jeff Davis and Thompson went to St. James), the duo are one-two in wins (four and three, respectively), one-three on the staff in strikeouts (37 and 29, respectively) and one-four in innings pitched (43.2 and 33.2, respectively). Combined the duo has the top four individual strikeouts performances this season with Burnside fanning a team-best nine against Ole Miss (3/30) and eight vs. Michigan State (2/24) and Thompson punching out eight against Davidson (3/6) and seven against VMI (3/13).
Making Their Case For Sunday
Auburn has listed its Sunday starter as TBA with the three most likely candidates to fill the role being So. LHP Evan Crawford, So. RHP Justin Bristow and Fr. RHP Austin Hubbard. All three have earned starts this season, with Crawford having started the most games (seven) and Bristow the least (one). Crawford is currently 3-3 on the year and is the only one to have ever an SEC game in his career. Hubbard and Bristow each earned their first career starts during this year's opening weekend, though neither came out with a win. Hubbard has since made two starts, going 1-0 with a 4.91 ERA while Bristow has been very good out of the bullpen, going 1-2 with a save and a 3.71 ERA in 11 appearances.
Auburn on The Go
After attempting just 55 stolen bases in all of 2006, Auburn has already stolen 60 in 75 attempts (an 80 percent success rate) in just 32 games this season. Sr. Bruce Edwards (17-for-18), Jr. Josh Donaldson (11-for-13) and Fr. Robert Brooks (10-for-13) have each surpassed the double-digit steals mark while eight other players have at least one stolen base this season. At its current pace of 1.9 steals per game, Auburn would finish the regular season with 105 steals. Auburn has stolen 100-or-more bases in a season twice (1971 - 101; 1974 - 116). The closest AU has come to 100 since was in 2000 when AU went 97-for-118. That year the Tigers had five players reach double figures in steals (Mailon Kent, 27-for-32; Dominic Rich, 25-for-31; Gabe Gross, 16-for-20; Jonathan Schuerholz, 11-for-12; and John Tyler, 10-for-11) and nine total players stole at least one base on the year.
Ring Em Up!
Auburn's 13 strikeouts on Tuesday vs. South Alabama marked the ninth time this season that the Auburn pitching staff rung up double figure strikeouts in a game and the second time in the last four games. The Auburn pitching staff is currently averaging 7.3 strikeouts per game and at that pace would finish the regular season with 410 strikeouts, the most in the last three seasons.
Bullpen Ridding Itself Of BBs
The Auburn bullpen seems to be getting back to its early season form of not issuing free passes. In the last five games the Auburn bullpen has thrown 19.0 innings and has issued just two walks after issuing 24 walks in the previous 23.0 innings.