Tigers Set To Host Tide On The Baseball Diamond


April 19, 2007

AUBURN, Ala. - The Auburn baseball team will play host to arch-rival Alabama this weekend at Plainsman Park as the two teams continue in their quest for a berth in the SEC Tournament next month in Hoover.

Auburn (25-15, 4-11 SEC) is looking to rebound from a series loss at South Carolina last weekend while Alabama (22-16, 7-8 SEC) is coming off of a series win over Georgia, though both fell in mid-week games on Wednesday.

Game times are set at 6pm CT on Friday, 3pm on Saturday and 1:30pm on Sunday. All three games will be televised with CSS carrying the Friday and Sunday games and SEC-TV (FSN) taking the Saturday game.

Friday night's game will also air live on CSN-Mid Atlantic (Comcast SportsNet), which serves the Washington, DC and Baltimore markets plus surrounding Virginia and Maryland, CSN-West, which serves Northern and Central California, parts of Nevada and Utah, and CL (Comcast Local) which serves Detroit plus Michigan and Indiana. The Sunday game will be same day tape delay on CSN-West (6:30pm ET / 3:30pm PT) and next day tape delay on CSN-Mid Atlantic (7pm ET)

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2007 Record (25-15, 4-11 SEC)
National Rankings: Not Ranked

Pitching Probables
Fri: So. LHP Miers Quigley (4-2, 2.89) vs. So. RHP Paul Burnside (6-1, 2.87)
Sat: Sr. RHP Bernard Robert (4-4, 3.57) vs. Fr. RHP Taylor Thompson (4-1, 4.24)
Sun: So. RHP Austin Hyatt (4-1, 1.91) vs. So. RHP Justin Bristow (1-4, 6.91)

Media Information
Television: CSS [Fri. & Sun.], SEC-TV [Sat.]
CSS Announcers: Matt Stewart & Andy Burcham
SEC-TV Announcers: Bernie Guenter & Nick Belmonte
Radio: WMXA-FM (96.7)
Announcers: Rod Bramblett, Andy Burcham & Brad Law
Live Stats: auburntigers.com
Live Streaming: auburntigers.com

Auburn Hosts Alabama To Start 2nd Half of SEC Season
The Tigers are in their third season under head coach Tom Slater (81-75 at AU/131-175 overall) ... Auburn is 25-15, 4-11 SEC on the season ... The Tigers are 3.0 games out of the SEC Tournament at the half-way point of the SEC season ... Auburn is in search of its first home SEC series win of the season ... Auburn leads the SEC in freshman at bats with 566 ... Fr. IF Joseph Sanders leads the team in hitting at .371, going 2-for-2 with 2 BB in Wednesday's game vs. Samford ... Auburn is 84-for-103 in stolen bases on the year ... The last time AU stole 84-or-more bases was in 2001 when it also stole 84 ... Auburn has outscored its opponents 51-19 in the first inning and is 18-4 when scoring in the first inning ... So. UTIL Luke Greinke went 2-for-5 on Wednesday to extend his team- and personal-best hitting streak to 15 games ... He is hitting .387 (24x62) during the streak ... He also carries a 13-game SEC hitting streak (.340) ... Sr. OF Bruce Edwards is in sole possession of seventh on Auburn's career steals list with 53 ... He needs two more to tie Rob Macrory (1994-97) for sixth ... Edwards is 17-for-38 (.447) with 11 walks and eight steals in his last 10 games ... Jr. C/IF Josh Donalson has started 126 consecutive games for the Tigers (56-C, 70-3B).

Scouting The Crimson Tide
Alabama (22-16, 7-8 SEC) dropped another one-run game on Wednesday night, losing to South Alabama, 5-4, in Tuscaloosa. The Crimson Tide is 3-7 in one-run games this season. After opening the season with a 12-2 record and a No. 13 ranking in the NCBWA poll (March 5), the Crimson Tide is 10-14 in its last 24 games.
Alabama is hitting .291 as a team and is led by Emeel Salem's .362 batting average and his 21 stolen bases. Alex Avila (.301) and Ryan Rhoden (.300) are also hitting over the .300 mark entering the weekend. The Crimson Tide has hit 35 home runs on the season, with five everyday players hitting five-or-more so far.
Alabama's pitching staff has a 3.59 ERA, the fourth-best mark inthe SEC. This weekend's starters have a combined 2.99 ERA and have struckout 130. Tommy Hunters (five) and Josh Copeland (three) have the majority of Alabama's 10 saves on the season.

The Auburn-Alabama Rivalry
Since 1949, Auburn trails in the series, 97-118, but owns a 48-41 edge in the games played in Auburn. Auburn has dropped its last two series with Alabama by 2-1 margins but had won the previous three series between the two schools in Auburn prior to Alabama winning the 2005 series. Since the 1999 series, Auburn has out-scored Alabama, 93-61, in games played at Plainsman Park.

Burnside Going For 3 Straight
So. RHP Paul Burnside is going for his third straight win on Friday after securing wins at LSU (6-1) and at South Carolina (16-1) in his last two outings. Since taking over the Friday night role prior to the Ole Miss series, Burnside has thrown 23.0 innings (which included a complete game at LSU), allowed just four earned runs (for a 1.57 ERA), struckout 19 while issuing just seven walks and has scattered 11 hits.
Last season, Burnside faced Alabama as a reliever on Friday night and did not allow a run in 4.0 innings as he extended his scoreless innings streak to 22.0 innings (en route to a streak that reached 25.1innings).

AU Leads The SEC In Frosh AB's
Entering this weekend's series, Auburn's 566 at bats by either red-shirt or true freshmen is tops in the SEC. In contrast, South Carolina has had just 13 freshman at bats this season, the lowest in the conference. LSU (511) is the only other school with 500-plus freshmen at bats this season while only two other schools, Georgia (498) and Florida (486) have more than 350 freshman at bats. Alabama is eighth in the league with 246 freshman ABs.

Edwards On A Tear
Sr. Bruce Edwards has been on a tear over the last 10 games, hitting .447 (17-for-38) with 11 walks and eight steals. He has a .588 on base percentage and has scored 14 runs in that time frame and has raised his batting average to .351, the highest it has ever been this late in an season.

Table Setters
Sr. OF Bruce Edwards and So. UTIL Luke Greinke continue to be the table setters for Auburn's slugging duo of Jr. C/IF Josh Donaldson and So. OF Mike Bianucci. Combined, Edwards and Greinke have scored 71 of Auburn's 291 runs (24 percent) while Donaldson and Bianucci have 82 of Auburn's 260 RBIs (32 percent).

Tiger Swipes
Led by Sr. OF Bruce Edward's 24-for-27, Auburn has stolen 84 bases in 103 attempts this season and is on pace to steal 118 bases in 56 regular-season games. Auburn's 84 steals already ranks fifth in school history and is six shy of tying the 1978 team for fourth. If it continues at its current pace, the Tigers would have just the third 100-plus steal season in school history. The school record is 116 steals in 1974.
The Tigers have stolen at least one base in 18 straight games and have only had six games this season in which AU has not successfully stolen one.

Sanders Around The Diamond
Fr. IF Joseph Sanders made his first career start at second base on Wednesday night, April 18, in Auburn's loss to Samford. Since starting at first on February 24 vs. Michigan State, Sanders has been in the starting lineup in 24 out of 27 games, making starts at first, second and third. He is hitting .381 since becoming a regular and is second on the team in slugging at .560.

Bruce On The Base Paths
Sr. OF Bruce Edwards is 24-for-27 in stolen bases this season and has successfully stolen a base all but three times in the last two seasons, going a perfect 14-for-14 last season. In three-plus seasons, Edwards is 53-for-60 on the base paths (an 88 percent success rate) and he needs just two more steals to tie Rob Macrory (1994-97) for sixth on Auburn's career stolen bases list.
Edwards' next successful steal will also put him in a tie with Dominic Rich (2000) for ninth on the single-season list.
Edwards has already tied a school record for steals in a single game as he successfully stole three bases against Florida on March 23, 2007. He became the eighth Tiger to successfully steal three in a game.

Greinke On A 15-Game Hit Streak
So. UTIL Luke Greinke carries a personal- and team-best 15-game hitting streak into the weekend. During the streak he is hitting .387 (24x62), scoring 12 runs. He also has a 13-game SEC-only hitting streak going in which he is hitting .339 (18x53). The only SEC game he has not collected a hit in was the second game of the conference season, going 0-for-4 on Saturday at Georgia.

Edwards Getting On Base
Sr. OF Bruce Edwards enters the weekend series with Alabama fourth in the SEC with a .488 on base percentage thanks to 46 hits, 31 walks and six hit by pitches. The walks have been the biggest turnaround for Edwards, who had never put together an on base percentage higher than .403 in his career, as he has already surpassed his career high in walks, whish was previously set at 28 in 57 games as a sophomore in 2005.

Sanders Leading The Team
Fr. IF Joseph Sanders continues to lead the team in hitting with a .371 batting average through 40 team games. Should he hold onto the team lead for the rest of the year, it would mark the second straight season that a true freshman has led Auburn in hitting, following Mike Bianucci's .359 batting average in 2006.

Getting Off To Good Starts
Auburn has outscored its opponents 51-19 in the first inning and is 18-4 when it scores in the first. The only inning Auburn has not outscored its opponents on the year is the sixth, where Auburn trails by three runs (26-23). On the year Auburn has outscored its opponents by an average of 2.2 runs per game (291-206).

The Auburn-Alabama Rivalry [Part 2]
Since the start of the 2006-07 academic season, Auburn holds a 10-7 advantage in head-to-head meetings between Auburn and Alabama. Auburn has claimed wins in football (22-15), a pair in both men's (81-57, 86-77) and women's (63-58, 93-61) basketball, soccer (6-1), men's (143.50-99.50) and women's (148-78) swimming and diving, women's tennis (4-3) and volleyball (3-1) while Alabama swept the Tigers in softball (10-0, 5-3, 12-4) and gymnastics (197.475-195.900 & 197.375-195.250), defeated the men's tennis team (4-3) and picked up a win in volleyball at home (3-1).