April 9, 2007
- Montgomery native Taylor Thompson was named the Southeastern Conference's Freshman of the Week following his gem of a performance in Auburn's series-clinching victory at LSU on Saturday.
A graduate of St. James High School, Thompson was spectacular in winning his first SEC game in only his second career conference start, tossing 6.0 innings and scattering six hits while striking out five. The Tigers went on to down LSU, 7-0, on the afternoon to clinch their second straight series win in Baton Rouge and fifth since 1993, the most by an SEC team in that time frame.
Thompson's performance was followed by Brett Butts' stellar work over the final 3.0 innings as the junior preserved Auburn's first SEC road shutout since the 2002 season.
Auburn (23-12) will play its final home non-conference game of the season at 6pm CT on Tuesday night when Mercer (21-15) makes a return trip to the Plains. Tuesday is Youth Night and all youth 17-and-under will get in free with cap and glove.
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2007 Record (23-12, 3-9 SEC)
National Rankings: Not Ranked
Tues: Sr. LHP J.C. Daugherty (0-1, 5.14) vs. So. LHP Evan Crawford (3-3, 5.66)
Radio: WMXA-FM (96.7)
Announcers: Rod Bramblett & Andy Burcham
Live Stats: auburntigers.com
Live Streaming: auburntigers.com
Tigers To Play Bears In Final Home Non-Conference Game Of `07
The Tigers are in their third season under head coach Tom Slater (79-72 at AU/129-172 overall) ... Auburn is 23-12, 3-9 SEC on the season ... Auburn is 20-3 in non-conference games this seaosn and is led at the plate by Jr. C/IF Josh Donaldson's .407 batting average in non-SEC games ... AU is hitting .312 and has a 3.13 ERA in non-conference games ... The 20 non-conference wins is the most for AU since the `04 team went 20-6 in non-conference games ... Tuesday's game is Auburn's final home non-conference game of the season ... Au has won 24 of 27 meetings with Mercer since the two schools started playing each other on a yearly basis in 1989 ... So. LHP Evan Crawford is making the first mid-week start of his career ... Crawford is 4-3 with a 4.79 ERA lifetime in nine career non-league starts ... Fr. RHP Taylor Thompson was named the SEC Freshman of the Week ... Auburn's true freshmen are hitting .303 (116-for-383) and have driven in 78 runs ... The freshman arms have a combined 2.91 ERA ... Auburn stole 10 bases during the LSU series and now has 70 on the season ... Auburn has outscored its opponents 44-10 in the first inning and is 14-4 when leading after one inning ... Sr. OF Bruce Edwards is in sole posession of 8th on Auburn's career steals list with 48 and needs four more to tie Mickey Miller (1973-76) for seventh ... Jr. C/IF Josh Donalson has started 121 consecutive games for the Tigers (54-C, 67-3B).
Scouting The Bears
Since facing Auburn just two weeks ago, Mercer has gone 3-4, winning its Atlantic Sun series with Jacksonville, 2-1 (5-4, 0-5, 7-6) before losing a single game at Georgia State (10-8) and a conference series with Lipscomb (7-12, 2-7, 5-4).
Mercer's team batting average has gone up just a point to .277 since the meeting in Macon while the team ERA has also gone up, from 4.06 prior to the first meeting to 4.21 entering Tuesday's game.
Josh Thompson (.331) and John Dortch (.330) continue to lead Mercer at the plate while reliever Cory Gearrin is doing it on the mound with a 3-1 record and eight saves to go along with his impressive 1.97 ERA in 32.0 innings.
Tuesday's starter, J.C. Daugherty (0-1, 5.14 ERA), is making his second start of the season after appearing in eight games as a reliever.
The Auburn-Mercer Series
Auburn owns a commanding 58-14 lead in the series between Auburn and Mercer, dating back to 1949. Since the series was resumed on a yearly basis in 1989, Auburn has won 24 out of 27 meetings, with all but the earlier meeting this year coming at Auburn.
Crawford Makes 1st Midweek Start
So. LHP Evan Crawford will be making the first midweek start of his young career on Tuesday when he takes the hill against Mercer. In 22 career weekend starts, Crawford has a 4.84 ERA and a 8-11 record. His lone midweek appearance came in his first outing this season when he threw 2.0 innings of scoreless relief against Lipscomb, allowing four hits.
In nine career non-conference starts, Crawford owns a record of 4-3 with two no-decisions and carries a 4.79 ERA.
Thompson SEC Frosh Of the Week
Fr. RHP Taylor Thompson was named the SEC's Freshman of the Week after his gem at LSU on Saturday last week. The Montgomery native went 6.0 innings without allowing a run in earning his first career SEC win as Auburn won its second straight series at LSU and fifth since 1993.
Greinke On A 10-Game Hit Streak
So. UTIL Luke Greinke carries a team-best 10-game hitting streak into Tuesdays game with Mercer. During the streak he is hitting .379 (11-for-29)
Auburn on The Go
After attempting just 55 stolen bases in all of 2006, Auburn has already stolen 70 in 88 attempts (an 80 percent success rate) in 35 games this season. Sr. Bruce Edwards (19-for-21), Fr. Robert Brooks (13-for-17) and Jr. Josh Donaldson (12-for-15) 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 2.0 steals per game, Auburn would finish the regular season with 112 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.
Butts Flourishing In Role
Jr. RHP Brett Butts has been brilliant in his role of middle reliever for the Tigers this season, owning a 2.00 ERA, which is third in the SEC, striking out 37 while issuing just eight walks, which is tied for fourth in the SEC. His 27 hits and eight runs allowed both lead the league while his .211 opponent batting average is ninth in the conference.
In 18 career appearances out of the bullpen, Butts is 1-0 with four saves and a 2.37 ERA, with all saves seeing him pitch 2.2 innings-or-more. By comparison, he went 3-6 with a 6.91 ERA in 13 starts in 2006.
Brooks Makes It Ten
Fr. IF Robert Brooks' grand slam on Friday brought the total to 10 Tigers that have hit home runs this season. Jr. C/IF Josh Donaldson and So. OF Mike Bianucci have both smacked eight homers this year while So. C Ryan Jenkins, So. Util. Luke Greinke, Fr. IF Joseph Sanders, Fr. IF Eric Skinner, Fr. OF Ross Smith, Fr. C Dustin Spruill and Sr. IF Philip Stringer each have one.
With his grand slam on Friday night at LSU, Fr. IF Robert Brooks became the second Auburn freshman to hit a grand slam as his first career home run this season, joining Fr. IF Eric Skinner, who did it at South Alabama on February 25. The last time AU had two first-year players hit a grand slam for their first home run in the same season was in 2000 when Brett Burnham and Jonathan Schuerholz did it.
The Montgomery Monopoly
So. RHP Paul Burnside and Fr. RHP Taylor Thompson occupied the first two spots in the weekend rotation for the first time this season last weekend at LSU and both threw gems. Both hailing from Montgomery (Burnside went to Jeff Davis and Thompson went to St. James), the duo are one-two in wins (five and four, respectively), one-three on the staff in strikeouts (42 and 34, respectively) and one-three in innings pitched (52.2 and 39.2, 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).
Ring Em Up!
Auburn's 13 strikeouts on Tuesday, April 3 vs. South Alabama marked the ninth time this season that the Auburn pitching staff rung up double figure strikeouts in a game. The Auburn pitching staff is currently averaging 7.2 strikeouts per game and at that pace would finish the regular season with 403 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 eight games the Auburn bullpen has thrown 26.2 innings and has issued just three walks after issuing 24 walks in the previous 23.0 innings.
Thompson Excelling As Starter
Fr. RHP Taylor Thompson excelled since being named a weekend starter, winning at Mercer on March 27 the week that he found out he was going to be a weekend starter and then getting his first career SEC start on Sunday, April 1 and helping the Tigers to a win over No. 13 Ole Miss. In his three starts since learning of the promotion, Thompson has allowed just two runs in 16.2 innings, striking out nine. Thompson currently is third on the the Tiger staff with 34 strikeouts and has twice K'd seven or more batters.