By Jeff Shearer
AUBURN, Ala - If you love left-handed pitchers, this is the series for you.
The Southpaw Special.
Tennessee visits Auburn on Thursday (6 p.m.), Friday (6 p.m.) and Saturday (1 p.m.) with the Vols starting a trio of left-handers and the Tigers countering with lefties Ben Braymer on Thursday and Andrew Mitchell on Sunday.
Tennessee is scheduled to start Aaron Soto, Zach Warren and Andy Cox.
Auburn's Justin Camp, Friday's scheduled starter, is the lone right-hander among the probable starting pitchers.
Cole Lipscomb will be available to pitch in relief in Thursday's series opener.
"We'd like for Cole to get a little bit of a break and help us more in the bullpen," Auburn coach Butch Thompson said. "We're always trying to put our guys in the best spot to have success."
Freshman Casey Mize will give Thompson another relief option against the Volunteers.
The Tigers are hoping one of their two injured outfielders will return to the lineup.
Joshua Palacios, batting. 408, is day-to-day with a right wrist injury.
"There's not a lineup that we write out that we don't want Joshua Palacios in," Thompson said. "I'm hopeful that he's in the lineup on Thursday."
Thompson says Daniel Robert will definitely miss the Tennessee series "and probably a couple more" with a left thumb injury.
Auburn is seeking its first SEC series win, after winning the series opener the previous weeks against LSU and Missouri. Both Auburn and Tennessee are 3-9 in the SEC.
"We've got to keep fighting and give ourselves a chance to win a series," Thompson said. "I told the guys, starting with our staff on Monday, `We need to be great models for these guys, and not critics.' That's important as a coaching staff.
"We had to look each other in the eye and tell each other that we've got to be more fundamentally sound if we want to be competitive in our league," he said. "We feel like we've matched up pretty good every SEC weekend, and we don't have a series victory to speak of. We know we've got to keep growing, keep developing, and get more fundamentally sound if we want anything to change."
-- Jeff Shearer (@jeff_shearer) April 14, 2016
Jeff Shearer is a Senior Writer at AuburnTigers.com. Follow him on Twitter: Follow @jeff_shearer