April 26, 2007
AUBURN, Ala. -
After completing is non-conference season on Wednesday night, the Auburn baseball has 12 regular season games remaining - nine of them against top 25 opponents - beginning with this weekend's series against No. 3 Arkansas at Plainsman Park.
Auburn (27-17, 6-12 SEC) has won six of its last 10 SEC games to climb within 2.0 games of eighth place in the race for the SEC Tournament but faces a stiff challenge in Arkansas (33-11, 13-5), which currently holds first place in the overall SEC standings.
The series gets underway at 6pm CT on Friday when Auburn sends So. LHP Evan Crawford (4-3) to the hill against Jr. LHP Nick Schmidt (8-1). Saturday's 2pm game will see the Tigers throw Fr. RHP Taylor Thompson (4-1) while Arkansas goes with Jr. RHP Duke Welker (5-2). Sunday's finale, which starts at 1:30pm will have Arkansas throwing Jr. RHP Jess Todd (5-2) while Auburn has yet to decide on a starter.
Friday night is Backpack Night and the First 500 fans receive a Drawstring Backpack courtesy of U.S. Army. Saturday is Stadium Cushion Day and the first 500 fans receive an AU Stadium Cushion courtesy of Century 21/Paramount Real Estate. Finally, Sunday is Coca-Cola Family Day where fans can purchase a Family Pack for just $40, which includes four tickets, four hot dogs, and four drinks. It is also Trading Card Day and the first 500 fans will receive set No. 3 of the 2007 Team Trading Card Set and all kids 12-and-under may run the bases after the game.
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2007 Record (27-17, 6-12 SEC)
National Rankings: Not Ranked
Fri: Jr. LHP Nick Schmidt (8-1, 2.56) vs. So. LHP Evan Crawford (4-3, 5.28)
Sat: Jr. RHP Duke Welker (5-2, 2.83) vs. Fr. RHP Taylor Thompson (4-1, 4.34)
Sun: Jr. RHP Jess Todd (5-2, 3.99) vs. TBA
Radio: WMXA-FM (96.7)
Announcers: Rod Bramblett & Andy Burcham
Live Stats: auburntigers.com
Live Streaming: auburntigers.com
Tigers Host Razorbacks To Start Stretch Run
The Tigers are in their third season under head coach Tom Slater (83-77 at AU/133-177 overall) ... Auburn is 27-17, 6-12 SEC on the season ... Auburn has won 6 of its last 10 SEC games since starting 0-8 ... The Tigers are tied with Georgia for 11th in the conference race, 2.0 games behind Alabama for eighth ... The series against Arkansas marks the start of three consecutive series vs. Top 25 teams ... Auburn is 92-for-112 in stolen bases on the year and is on pace (2.09 steals/g) to steal a school record 117 in 56 games ...Auburn has outscored its opponents 52-28 in the first inning and is 19-4 when scoring in the first inning ... Auburn leads the SEC in freshman at bats with 633 ... So. UTIL Luke Greinke is in the midst of a team- and personal-best hitting streak of 19 games ... He is hitting .430 (34x79) during the streak ... It is the longest streak by a Tiger since Hayden Gliemmo hit in 21 straight games from Apr. 28, 1999 to Feb. 15, 2000 ... Sr. OF Bruce Edwards is in sole possession of seventh on Auburn's career steals list with 54 ... He needs one more to tie Rob Macrory (1994-97) for sixth ... Jr. C/IF Josh Donaldson was ranked 31st in Baseball America's College Top 50 Prospects Midseason Update (Apr. 20) and was the fifth catcher listed ... Donalson has started 130 consecutive games for the Tigers (59-C, 71-3B) ... So. OF Mike Bianucci has never gone more than eight games without hitting a home run in his career and has hit five of Auburn's last seven home runs ... Auburn has 12 saves on the year, the ninth-best single-season mark.
Scouting The Razorbacks
Arkansas heads to Auburn with an impressive 33-11 overall record and are in first place in the SEC with a 13-5 mark, having won its last two conference series [2-1 vs. Georgia (Apr. 20-22) and 3-0 vs. Florida (Apr. 14-15)]. The only SEC team to take a series from the Razorbacks this season was Mississippi State, who won the first two games in their early April series in Fayetteville. The Razorbacks are 7-2 in road SEC games.
Arkansas is hitting .296 as a team and are led by Logan Forsythe's .342 batting average and Danny Hamblin's (.261) 14 home runs. Casey Coon (.229) leads the Razorbacks with 51 RBI while no Arkansas player has double-digit steals.
On the mound the Razorbacks are led by front-line starter Nick Schmidt, who has a 2.56 ERA (fourth in the SEC) and hs is followed by Duke Welker and his 2.83 ERA (seventh in the SEC). The Razorbacks are third in the league with 391 strikeouts but have issued 159 walks, 11th in the conference.
Noting the Series
Auburn leads the all-time series 30-23 and lead the series 15-6 at Plainsman Park
Auburn has lost just one home series to Arkansas, that coming in 2003
Since Tom Slater took over the Auburn program in 2005, Auburn is 2-4 against the Razorbacks, winning the 2005 series in Auburn but falling in the 2006 series in Fayetteville.
Auburn head coach Tom Slater and Arkansas Friday night starter Nick Schmidt spent the 2006 summer together as members of the Team USA National Team that won gold at the FISU World Championships.
Noting the Tiger Offense
Auburn's .296 overall batting average is 6th in the conference while its .260 batting average in SEC games is 10th
The Tigers lead the league in stolen bases with 92, which is 31 more than the second team in the conference (Tennessee - 61) and is 54 more than Arkansas (38) ... The Tigers are on pace to steal 117 bases, which would be a school record (116 set in 1974)
Auburn's 317 runs scored is fourth in the conference ... They have already surpassed the 2006 team's total of 283 runs in 56 games and need just 39 more runs to equal the `05 squad.
Auburn has hit 32 home runs, 10th in the SEC, and have a total of 113 extra-base hits
Noting the Tiger Pitching Staff
Auburn has a 4.00 ERA, 6th in the SEC ... Its 5.01 ERA in league play is 8th
Auburn's 318 strikeouts is 8th in the SEC and is just 57 shy of the 2006 staff's total (375)
Auburn's bullpen has a 2.88 ERA in 187.2 innings
Auburn has a 3.91 ERA at home
Noting the Tiger Hitters
So. UTIL Luke Greinke brings a 19-game hitting streak into Friday night's game ... He is hitting .430 (34x79) during the streak ... He also carries a 16-game SEC-only hitting streak into Friday's game
So. OF Mike Bianucci leads the Tigers with 13 home runs ... He has hit at least one HR in four of the last eight games and has never gone more than eight games between home runs in his career ... The last Tiger to hit 13 homers in a season was Bobby Huddleston in 2003.
Sr. OF Bruce Edwards has 25 steals on the season, the ninth-highest total for a single season in Auburn history ... He is on pace to steal 32 this season, which would be the third-best single-season mark in AU history ... He also has a chance to lead the SEC in steals, which hasn't been done by a Tiger since Dom Fucci in 1978 (28 steals).
Noting the Tiger Pitchers
So. LHP Evan Crawford will be making his first start in SEC play on Friday night since March 31 vs. Ole Miss ... Crawfors is looking to snap a personal 6-game losing streak in SEC play.
After struggling as a starter in `06, Jr. RHP Brett Butts has nailed down his role coming out of the bullpen ... His 2.16 ERA in all games would rank third in the SEC if he met the qualifications while is .222 opponent batting average would rank eighth.
So. RHP Luke Greinke threw 4.0 innings of scoreless ball on Wednesday night at Troy ... It was his first action on the mound since March 27 at Mercer ... He now has a string of 6.0 innings without allowing a run going.
Sr. RHP Chris Dennis has not allowed a run in his last two outings (4.2 IP) and has allowed just two earned runs in his last six outings combined (11.2 IP) ... In that stretch he has struckout 14 while walking just two.