Hubbard Named To NCBWA Stopper Of The Year Midseason Watch List; Tigers Head To South Carolina
April 16, 2009
AUBURN, Ala. - Austin Hubbard was named to the National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association Stopper of the Year Midseason Watch on the day that Auburn leaves for a three-game Southeastern Conference series with South Carolina that begins on Friday in Columbia, S.C.
Hubbard is one of 45 pitchers on the list and currently leads the SEC with eight saves and was tied for 11th nationally entering the week. In 27 innings pitched the junior righty has struck out 45 while issuing just 12 walks, compiling a 4.00 ERA and a 2-1 record.
Auburn heads into this weekend in a virtual tie with South Carolina as both bring in identical 23-14 overall records and both are 7-8 in SEC play, tied with Alabama for seventh in the standings.
Auburn is in search of just its second series win in Columbia with the only other win coming in 1997, which is also the last time Auburn has won a series from USC. Auburn is just 5-13 all-time in South Carolina's home park.
Auburn hopes to carry over the offense that was on display in Wednesday's 12-7 win over South Alabama which saw Auburn mash five more home runs, three off the bat of Brian Fletcher, to bring the season total to 79.
Auburn enters the weekend with a team batting average of .296 and a staff ERA of 5.90 while South Carolina is just ahead of Auburn in the SEC hitting rankings with a .304 team batting average while also sporting a 4.96 ERA, eighth in the league.
South Carolina will counter with So. RHP Sam Dyson (5-2, 5.21) on Friday, Fr. LHP Nolan Belcher (2-1, 3.73) on Saturday and Jr. RHP Blake Cooper (4-3, 4.57) on Sunday.
Game times for the weekend are 7pm ET on Friday, 4pm on Saturday and 1:30pm on Sunday. Saturday's game will be carried live on television by SportsSouth while all three games will be carried on the Auburn Network.
Friday, April 17-Sunday, April 19 Carolina Stadium Columbia, S.C.
Radio: WKKR-FM 97.7 TV: SportsSouth [Saturday only]
AUBURN AND SOUTH CAROLINA TIED IN SEC STANDINGS: Auburn and South Carolina enter this weekend's series as two parts of a three-way tie for seventh in the SEC along with Alabama at 7-8 ... The three teams are a half-game behind Vanderbilt for sixth in the league and just two games behind Florida and Ole Miss for fourth ... Alabama plays at Vanderbilt this weekend while Florida and Ole Miss square off in Gainesville.
AUBURN VS. SOUTH CAROLINA: Auburn trails in the all-time series with South Carolina, 29-13, and has won just five times out of 18 tries in Columbia ... Auburn has won the Friday night game in each of its last two trips to Columbia but has only won a series in Columbia once, that coming in 1997 when Auburn lost the opener and then won the next two ... Auburn's only other win in Columbia came in the series finale in 2001 as Auburn was swept in Columbia in 1993 and 1999.
AUBURN'S OFFICIAL NCAA RPI: The NCAA RPI numbers were published for the first time on Tuesday and Auburn was ranked 20th overall ... Only three SEC teams were ahead of Auburn in the NCAA RPI (Arkansas - 6th; LSU - 12th; Georgia - 16th) ... This weekend's opponent, South Carolina, was the next SEC team listed at 24th.
ANOTHER RUNG CLIMBED: So. OF Brian Fletcher's three homer night against South Alabama put Auburn in the cusp of 80 home runs for the season, putting the team at 79 going into this weekend ... Auburn needs to six more home run to tie the 1997 team for second in Auburn history and eight to tie the school record of 87 set in 1998 ... Auburn is averaging 2.14 home runs per game this year and has hit at least one home run in all but nine games this season, seven of which have come in SEC play ... At its current pace, Auburn would finish the year with 120 home runs ... 120 home runs would place Auburn in the SEC top 10 for team home runs in a season ... The SEC record book lists the top 19 teams, all of which have hit at least 102 home runs, with all but two of them playing at least 60 games.
COMEBACK KIDS: Of Auburn's 24 wins this season, 13 of them have featured Auburn comebacks, nine of which came after the fifth inning ... The latest come-from-behind win was Wednesday's 12-7 win over South Alabama in which Auburn trailed 1-0 after the top of the first, only to score nine runs over the next two innings to take a 9-1 lead.
STAT LINE: Auburn is eighth in the SEC with a .296 batting average with So. IF Justin Hargett leading the team with a .349 batting average ... Auburn's 282 runs scored are tied for fourth with Florida in the league while the team's 263 RBI are fourth all alone ... So. OF Trent Mummey paces the league with 51 runs scored while Jr. IF Joseph Sanders is fourth in the league with 51 RBI.
BEEN CAUGHT STEALING: So. C Tony Caldwell has already thrown out 19 base runners this season attempting steals ... Entering the weekend, comparing that number to the 47 names on the Johnny Bench Award watch list, Caldwell ranked second behind TCU's Bryan Holaday for most runners caught stealing ... Caldwell had caught his first 19 in 47 attempts while Holaday has caught 21 in 41 attempts.
ODD STAT: Auburn has hit 79 home runs this season, five more than the team's double total of 74 and seven players on the team have more homers than doubles ... Coupled with the team's 11 triples, Auburn needs just 18 more extra-base hits to get into the Auburn single-season top 10 list.
OLD RELIABLE: Auburn has scored 127 out of its 282 runs (45 percent) via the long ball, hitting 44 solo home runs, 24 two-run home runs, nine three run home runs and four grand slams.
PAWLOWSKI VS. SOUTH CAROLINA: Auburn Head Coach John Pawlowski is very familiar with South Carolina having played and coached at rival Clemson and then playing them while the head coach at the College of Charleston ... As a head coach Pawlowski is just 1-7 lifetime against South Carolina while as a player from 1983-85 his Clemson teams went 2-8 against USC ... During his time as an assistant coach at Clemson (1994-98) the Tigers were 11-6 against their in-state rival.
HUBBARD CLIMBING THE BOOKS: Jr. RHP Austin Hubbard has already placed his name in the Auburn record books, picking up his eighth save of the season (and career) on Wednesday vs. South Alabama ... His eight saves puts him into a five-way tie for seventh in the single-season list along with Steven Register (2004), Colter Bean (1999), Finley Woodward (1997) and Mike Ferry (1989) ... He is also tied with Cory Dueitt (2001-04) for 10th on the single-season list ... In Hubbard's eight saves, he has a 0.77 ERA (1 ER, 11 2/3 IP) with 21 strikeouts against just four walks and seven hits.
FLETCH LIVES: So. OF Brian Fletcher cranked out three home runs on Wednesday vs. South Alabama to give him 12 for the season and 22 for his career ... Fletcher had a similar big second half to last season, hitting seven of his 10 home runs after the mid-way point of the SEC season, upping his average from .308 at the start of the sixth series to .324 by the end of the year.
SANDERS IN ELITE COMPANY: When Jr. IF Joseph Sanders cracked his 17th home run this season it put the third baseman in elite company as he tied Doug Gilcrease (1982) and Bo Jackson (1985) for ninth on the single-season home run list ... His next home run would tie him with Tim Hudson (1997) and Tim Lemons (1985) for seventh on the list at 18 ... Todd Faulkner holds the school record with 22 home runs in 2000.
SANDERS ON THE CAREER CHARTS: Jr. IF Joseph Sanders needs just three more home runs to crack the career top 10 in homers at 29 ... Josh Etheredge (1995-98) holds the school record with 59 career bombs.
FLETCHER TIES A DECADE-OLD MARK: When So. OF Brian Fletcher hit home runs in his first three at bats against South Alabama on Wednesday, April 15, he became the first Tiger to accomplish that feat since Josh Etheredge did it against Kentucky on March 29, 1996.
SANDERS DRIVES THEM IN AT TORRID PACE: Jr. IF Joseph Sanders needs just one more RBI to equal his team-leading total of 52 from 2008, entering the weekend fourth in the SEC with 51 RBI (ninth in NCAA entering the week) ... At his current pace of 1.38 RBI/game, Sanders would finish the regular season with 77 RBI, which would rank ninth in Auburn history.
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