Baseball Goes To Georgia For Key Series

AUBURNTIGERSDOTCOM Cullen Wacker
AUBURNTIGERSDOTCOM
Cullen Wacker
AUBURNTIGERSDOTCOM

May 3, 2012

- The Auburn baseball team, which is tied for sixth place in the Southeastern Conference standings with nine games remaining, faces a pivotal weekend as it travels to Athens, Ga., to take on Georgia this weekend. Game times for the series are 6pm CT on Friday, 3pm on Saturday and 1pm on Sunday. Friday's game will air live on SportSouth while Saturday will air live on CSS.

Auburn is 25-19, 10-11 SEC while Georgia is 25-20, 9-12 SEC.

PITCHING MATCHUPS
FRIDAY, MAY 4 • 6PM CT • FOLEY FIELD • WKKR-FM 97.7 • AUBURNTIGERS.COM LIVE AUDIO • SPORTSOUTH/ESPN3.COM
RHP Jon Luke Jacobs (5-1, 3.21) vs. LHP Alex Wood (5-1, 2.69)

SATURDAY, MAY 5 • 3PM CT • FOLEY FIELD • WKKR-FM 97.7 • AUBURNTIGERS.COM LIVE AUDIO • CSS
LHP Daniel Koger (3-4, 2.67) vs. RHP Michael Palazzone (2-5, 5.40)

SUNDAY, MAY 6 • 1PM CT • FOLEY FIELD • WKKR-FM 97.7 • AUBURNTIGERS.COM LIVE AUDIO
TBA vs. RHP Luke Crumely (1-2, 4.44)

Auburn is the top hitting team in the SEC, ranking first in team average (.318), on base percentage (.404), hits (474), triples (17), walks (185) and stolen bases (80) and is second in doubles. The team batting average is eighth nationally entering the week.

Leading the way for the Auburn offense is Ryan Tella, who enters the weekend among the SEC leaders in batting average (.376, third), slugging percentage (.535, 1th), on base percentage (.473, second), hits (64, fourth), triples (2, tied-ninth), total bases (91, ninth), walks (30, seventh) and steals (12, tied-third). He is one of seven regulars to hit over .300 this season, with Cullen Wacker (.359) and Blake Austin (.355), the reigning SEC Player of the Week, also hitting over .350.

 

 

GAME NOTES • GAMES 45-47 • AUBURN (25-19, 10-11 SEC) AT GEORGIA (25-20, 9-12 SEC)

AUBURN ALL-TIME VS. GEORGIA
Auburn leads the all-time series, 101-82, and has won each of the last two series from Georgia (2010, 2011) ... Georgia has won the last two games in the series, including a SEC Tournament-elimination game in 2011 ... Each of the last two series played at Athens, Ga., have been sweeps, with Georgia sweeping Auburn in 2007 and Auburn sweeping Georgia in 2010 ... Since the teams started playing three-game weekend series in 1986, Auburn has swept Georgia eight times and Georgia has swept Auburn six times, making 14 of the 22 series sweeps one way or the other.

GEORGIA (AU leads 101-82)
at Auburn: AU leads, 57-33
at Athens: UGA leads, 45-42
at Neutral Sites: UGA leads, 4-2
SEC Tournament: UGA leads, 4-2
Extra Innings: AU leads, 5-2

Justin Bryant had a Hall of Fame-type weekend the last time Auburn traveled to Athens as he went 4-for-6 with eight RBI, doubling and homering twice ... He had entered the game with just three extra-base hits and eight RBI in his first 15 games at Auburn.

Derek Varnadore has a lifetime 1.17 ERA against Georgia, going 1-1 in two appearances ... As a junior in 2011, he threw a complete-game shutout on Saturday in a 3-0 Auburn win, striking out seven ... He then took the loss in the SEC Tournament elimination game, allowing three runs (two earned) in 6 1/3 innings of a 3-2 loss ... All three runs came in the bottom of the sixth.

BREAKING OUT THE BATS
Auburn had a big weekend against Tennessee, hitting a collective .406 to raise the team batting average from .312 before the series started to .318 afterwards ... Auburn is now the top hitting team in the SEC, ranks first in on base percentage (.404), hits (474), triples (17), walks (185) and stolen bases (80) and is second in doubles (91) ... Auburn's .318 team batting average is eighth nationally entering the week ... Utah Valley leads the nation with a .348 team average.

THE RUN AROUND
Auburn scored 35 runs over its three-game sweep of Tennessee after scoring just 37 in its' nine previous SEC games (the team went 1-8) ... The last time Auburn had scored double-digit runs in three straight games was March 16-19 but the last time it did it in a single SEC series was 2003 when it swept Kentucky by a combined score of 34-16.

WHERE WE STAND WITH FOUR SERIES LEFT
Auburn enters the eighth weekend of SEC play in a three-way tie for sixth in the SEC with Ole Miss and Mississippi State ... Auburn holds the tie-breaker with both clubs having taken two-of-three from each earlier this season ... Auburn is one game out of second in the SEC West and one game ahead of ninth in the overall standings ... The top 10 teams in the SEC overall standings earn a spot in this year's SEC Tournament, which takes place at Hoover, Ala., May 22-27.

HEADING TO HOOVER?
Auburn is attempting to earn a third straight trip to Hoover, Ala., for this year's SEC Tournament (May 22-27), something it hasn't done since going to seven straight tournaments from 1997-2003.

AUSTIN NAMED SEC PLAYER OF THE WEEK
Blake Austin was named the SEC Player of the Week for the period ending on Sunday, April 29 ... The sophomore catcher hit .643 (9-for-14) with two doubles, a home run, three runs scored and a team-high 10 RBI over the last week ... In the weekend series sweep of Tennessee, which helped Auburn move from ninth to sixth-place in the SEC standings, he went 7-for-11 (.636) and had a 1.091 slugging percentage ... In Sunday's sweep-clinching win, he was 3-for-4 with a career-high five RBI ... He is currently riding a six-game hitting streak in which he has six multi-hit games, going 14-for-20 (.700) with 11 RBI.

HEATING UP THE HOME RUN TROT
As a team, Auburn has just 25 home runs, seventh in the SEC, but the team has connected for at least one home run in seven of the last eight games for nint total homers ... Zach Alvord (five overall), Garrett Cooper (four overall), Creede Simpson (two overall) and Ryan Tella (four overall) each have two home runs during the current run, with Alvord homering in each of the last two games.

EXTRA! EXTRA!
Of Auburn's 273 hits, 49 percent of them have gone for extra-bases (91 doubles, 17 triples and 25 home runs) ... Auburn has had at least one extra-base hit in nine straight games and has had at least one extra-base hit in 41 out of 44 games this year.

READING THE RPI
With three weekends and 11 scheduled games remaining, Auburn is ranked No. 46 in the official NCAA RPI ... Georgia is tied with Auburn at No. 46 while each of the last two weekend opponents hold higher RPIs Arkansas (No. 12) and Florida (No. 2) ... Auburn's strenght of schedule is 33 according to WarrenNolan.com.

SPEEDY GONZALEZ
Outfielder Jay Gonzalez leads the SEC with 21 stolen bases (in 25 attempts, 84 percent) and has the most steals by an Auburn player since Bruce Edwards stole 28 in 2007 ... Gonzalez is attempting to be the first Auburn player to be the league leader in steals since Dom Fucci in 1978 ... It takes 25 steals to break into the Auburn single-season top 10.

THREE BAGS
As a team, Auburn has already produced 17 triples, which is one shy of breaking into the Auburn single-season top 10 ... Jay Gonzalez and Cullen Wacker each have five triples, which is the most by a single player since Clete Thomas legged out six in 2005 ... That same season, Auburn had 17 triples as a team.

Auburn Series Notes

Georgia Series Notes

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