April 14, 2011
The Auburn baseball team heads to Baton Rouge, La., for a three-game series at No. 21 LSU over the weekend as the Southeastern Conference season hits the midway point. Auburn enters the weekend 18-14, 5-7 SEC whlie LSU comes in 22-12, 3-9 SEC.
Auburn finds itself two games out of first place in the SEC West, trailing Alabama (7-5 SEC) and Arkansas (6-6) and tied with Ole Miss and Mississippi State. The defending SEC West Champion club is also just two games behind its pace from last year in which it was 7-5 after 12 league games.
"I thought our team made some progress last weekend at Kentucky. I know we had struggled earlier and it was good to see the guys play with some confidence," Auburn Head Coach John Pawlowski said. "We talk about it being the Wild, Wild West. It is going to come down to the last weekend of the year."
Jr. RHP Zach Blatt (1-2, 6.53) will be making his first career start at Auburn on Friday night after giving Auburn 5 1/3 innings of relief on Friday night at Kentucky.
LSU will throw Fr. RHP Kurt McCune (5-1, 1.80) on Friday.
Follow Auburn baseball on twitter at twitter.com/AUTigerBaseball.
Complete Release in PDF Format
AUBURN TIGERS (18-14, 5-7 SEC)
#21 LSU TIGERS (22-12, 3-9 SEC)
WEEKEND PITCHING ROTATIONS
Friday, April 15 (auburntigers.com audio / WKKR 97.7 FM)
Auburn at LSU 7PM Alex Box Stadium
Jr. RHP Zach Blatt (1-2, 6.53) vs. Fr. RHP Kurt McCune (5-1, 1.80)
Saturday, April 16 (auburntigers.com audio / WKKR 97.7 FM)
Auburn at LSU 6:30PM Alex Box Stadium
Sr. LHP Cory Luckie (1-1, 5.20) OR Jr. RHP Jon Luke Jacobs (1-2, 2.74) vs. Fr. RHP Kevin Gausman (2-3, 4.60)
Sunday, April 17 (auburntigers.com audio / WKKR 97.7 FM)
Auburn at LSU 1PM Alex Box Stadium
TBA vs. Sr. RHP Ben Alsup (4-3, 3.27)
Auburn busted out for 35 runs in its three-game sweep at Kentucky, upping the team average 10 points from .300 to .310 in the process ... Of Auburn's 35 runs scored on the weekend, 26 of them came from innings six through nine as Auburn went 29-for-65 (.446) over the final four frames in each game while only surrendering seven runs on 12-for-48 (.250) hitting by Kentucky.
CALDWELL'S 5-FOR-5 DAY
Tony Caldwell recorded the first five hit game [1B, HR, HR, 1B, HR] of his career on Saturday at Kentucky, blasting three home runs and driving in a career-high seven RBI as Auburn won, 15-8 ... The three homer game was the first by an Auburn hitter since Brian Fletcher hit three against South Alabama on April 15, 2009 and gave Caldwell four multi-homer games in his career, which is tied for fifth all-time in Auburn history ... Caldwell went 8-for-14 (.571) for the series, driving in 10 RBIs and scoring five runs, upping his season batting average from .268 before the series started to .313 after it and bringing his season RBI total up to 22, tied for third on the team.
ORTMAN SEC CO-FRESHMAN OF THE WEEK
After picking up the first two saves of his career over the weekend during Auburn's three-game sweep of Kentucky, Dillon Ortman was been named a Southeastern Conference Co-Freshman of the Week ... He threw a total of 3 1/3 innings in two relief appearances, picking up a save in Friday's opener and in Sunday's sweep-clinching win, Auburn's first sweep of Kentucky since 2003 ... On Friday he entered with Auburn up 12-9 and a man on second and none out, retiring all three hitters he faced ... He returned on Sunday and threw the final 2 1/3 innings, entering with Auburn up 6-2 and the bases loaded and two outs ... He finished the day without allowing a hit or a walk as Auburn claimed an 8-2 win.
AUBURN LURKING TWO GAMES BACK OF WEST LEAD
After sweeping Kentucky, Auburn goes into the series in Baton Rouge two games behind SEC West leader Alabama and one game behind Arkansas for second in the West, tied with Ole Miss and Mississippi State ... Besides playing each other, Auburn and Alabama each still have Tennessee, LSU and South Carolina as common opponents left on the schedule ... Auburn holds a tie-breaker over Arkansas but loses a tie-break with Mississippi State in the West race.
COMPARING `11 TO `10
Four series into the 2011 SEC season, Auburn (5-7) stands two games back of where it was last year (7-5) at the same point ... Last year the team had to face No. 18 Vanderbilt during the fifth weekend of conference play, winning one game in the series to move to 8-7 ... Last year the team was hitting .325 with an on base percentage of .402, having scored 102 runs while the pitching staff had a 5.01 ERA (SEC games only) ... This year the team is hitting .302 with a .384 on base percentage with 81 runs scored while the pitching staff has a 6.69 ERA.