In the midst of his team's first slump of the season, Auburn coach Butch Thompson has not lost any confidence.
"The last four games, it's over," Thompson said. "Really look at the totality of the whole season. A team that has won (32) games and won 14 Southeastern Conference games, which, you don't fall into that."
The Tigers have dropped four straight and six of their last eight games. However, Thompson believes his team will be better for it.
"Every really good ball club goes through some adversity," Thompson said. "I'm hoping this does nothing but galvanize our ball club, makes it stronger, because we really haven't been through this."
Auburn will feature a new starting rotation this weekend, as junior left-hander Andrew Mitchell will start Thursday in game one of the series. Co-aces Keegan Thompson and Casey Mize will be on the mound Friday and Saturday, respectively. Mitchell will start in place of freshman Davis Daniel, who will work out of the bullpen this weekend.
"Thompson and Mize, they get to pitch four more games, two starts apiece," Butch Thompson said. "You want your best players to play great when you get to this point in the season."
It will be a return home for Mitchell, a New Orleans native who began his college career at LSU before transferring to a junior college.
"In some way he'll be able to look back after this is over and that will be a special night," Thompson said. "I did see where a lot of his family is coming to be with him. It's really not, 'Hey, start Andrew because you're going to LSU.' It's really because that's our next starter up. It's kind of neat to work out that way but he just needs to focus on making pitches and getting us off to a good start."
The Tigers, who have the SEC's best away record at 10-5, will look to continue their road success as they visit the Bayou Bengals.
"I'm looking forward to it," Mize said. "Pitching in those kinds of environments is awesome. LSU, I've heard it's a really fun place to play. Being in that kind of atmosphere just kind of motivates me. Honestly, I think it helps me pitch better. If you have a bunch of people yelling at me, it kind of helps a little bit."
No. 14 Auburn (32-18, 14-10) and No. 15 LSU (32-17, 15-9) begin their three-game series at Alex Box Stadium Thursday night at 6:30 p.m. CST on ESPN2. Friday night's 7 p.m. game will be on WatchESPN and SEC Network+. The final game of the series will start at noon Saturday on the SEC Network.