May 13, 2009
AUBURN, Ala. -
Two of the nation's top home run hitting teams will square off on the diamond this Thursday through Saturday as Auburn plays host to No. 10 Alabama in the final Southeastern Conference series for both clubs. Auburn enters the series with a school-record 100 home runs while Alabama has slugged 103, with both teams ranking in the top five nationally.
Winners of its last two games, Auburn (29-24, 9-18 SEC) looks to end the regular season strong while Alabama (36-15, 17-9 SEC) will be trying to capture a SEC title this weekend, entering a half-game behind LSU in the conference standings with three to play.
Auburn will employ the same rotation it has since the LSU series, starting R-Fr. RHP Jon Luke Jacobs (3-4, 6.10 ERA) on Thursday night, So. LHP Grant Dayton (2-6, 6.10) on Friday night and Fr. RHP Dexter Price (4-2, 5.40) on Saturday.
Alabama will counter with Sr. RHP Austin Hyatt (8-1, 3.13) on Thursday, Jr. LHP Del Howell (5-2, 5.94) on Friday and Fr. LHP Adam Morgan (3-1, 3.57) on Saturday.
Thursday's 6pm CT game will air live on CSS while Saturday's 3pm contest is the SEC Game of the Week on FSN. Friday's game will also have a 6pm first pitch.
The series will be Faculty/Staff weekend and all Auburn faculty and staff will receive half-price admission for up to four people per ID. The first 1,000 fans into Saturday's game will receive an Auburn Bandana courtesy of Verizon Wireless.
#10 Alabama Crimson Tide (36-15, 17-9 SEC) at Auburn Tigers (29-24, 9-18 SEC)
Thursday, May 14 - Saturday, May 16 Plainsman Park Auburn, AL
Radio: WKKR-FM 97.7 TV: CSS [Thursday] & FSN [Saturday]
May 14 vs. Alabama Sr. RHP Austin Hyatt (8-1, 3.13) vs. R-Fr. RHP Jon Luke Jacobs (3-4, 6.10)
May 15 vs. Alabama Jr. LHP Del Howell (5-2, 5.94) vs. So. LHP Grant Dayton (2-6, 6.10)
May 16 vs. Alabama Fr. LHP Adam Morgan (3-1, 3.57) vs. Fr. RHP Dexter Price (4-2, 5.40)
AUBURN VS ALABAMA: Baseball's Iron Bowl has been played 221 times since 1949 with Auburn trailing in the series, 100-121 ... Auburn has protected home field advantage to the tune of 50-42 and won the last series played in Auburn in 2007 ... Overall, Alabama has won three of the last four series after Auburn won three of four from 2001-04 ... Auburn won a neutral site meeting, 8-7, on March 10, 2009.
AUBURN ELIMINATED FROM SEC TOURNAMENT CONTENTION: Auburn enters this weekend's series against No. 10 Alabama in 10th place in the SEC, 2.0 games behind Kentucky for ninth and 3.5 games behind eighth-place Vanderbilt with three to play ... Auburn will miss the SEC Tournament for a sixth consecutive year, last advancing to the tournament in 2003.
NCAA REGIONAL CHATTER: Auburn remains in the discussion for a possible NCAA Regional berth thanks to an RPI of 34 (WarrenNolan and BoydsWorld) and a strength of schedule of 12th (WarrenNolan) ... Alabama has a RPI of 20 (WarrenNolan) and 24 (BoydsWorld), so a series victory would most likely boost Auburn's number ... Auburn is 11-21 against WarrenNolan's Top 50 RPI teams and is 4-2 against teams 51-100 for a total of 15-23 against Top 100 RPI teams ... When Auburn was last selected to a NCAA Regional in 2005, its RPI was 16th and its strength of schedule was first after finishing the year 34-26, 13-17 SEC.
PAWLOWSKI VS. ALABAMA AS A COACH: Auburn Head Coach John Pawlowski is 1-0 against Alabama as a head coach, facing them earlier this year in the inagural Max Capital City Classic ... During his days as an assistant coach, Pawlowski helped Clemson defeat and eliminate Alabama, 14-13, from the College World Series in 1996.
HUBBARD LEADS THE SEC IN SAVES: Jr. RHP Austin Hubbard took over the SEC saves lead on Tuesday night when he slammed the door shut on Georgia Southern, entering with a man on and none out in the ninth of a two-run game ... After an error and a sac bunt put the tying run on second, Hubbard fanned the next two hitters to pick up his 12th save and move one ahead of LSU closer Matt Ott and Florida's Billy Bullock for the league lead ... Since the start of April, Hubbard has picked up eight saves in 11 Auburn wins ... In his 12 saves this season, he has a 1.02 ERA (2 ER, 17 2/3 IP) with 25 strikeouts against just eight walks and nine hits (WHIP 0.96).
HE'S BACK: Jr. IF Joseph Sanders has been cleared to resume action for the Alabama series ... Sanders has been out since the first inning of the 8-2 loss to Samford on April 21 when he was hit in the face by a pitch, breaking his jaw ... Auburn has gone 1-8 in SEC play since losing Sanders and the team has scored just 38 runs in his absense (4.22 R/g) while allowing 66 runs (7.33 R/g) ... Before the injury, Auburn was 8-10 in the SEC as Sanders was hitting .338 with eight doubles, a triple and seven home runs in SEC play, driving in 19.
AUBURN HITS THE CENTURY MARK: So. OF Brian Fletcher's second home run on Sunday at Kentucky helped Auburn crack the 100 home run mark on the season ... Auburn needs to hit two more home runs over its final three games to become the 21st team in SEC history to tally at least 102 home runs ... The SEC record for home runs in 56 games is 107, set by Tennessee in 1998 ... Alabama became the 20th SEC team to hit at least 102 in a season when it hit three on Tuesday night in a 8-4 win over Jacksonville State.
NO MORE THAN FOUR: Auburn has allowed four-or-less earned runs 18 times and is 17-1 in those contests but is just 12-23 when allowing five-or-more earned runs ... Auburn has surrendered four earned runs in each of its last two games, both wins, after allowing five-plus earned runs in the previous 12 games (2-10).
LOW WATER MARK: The Auburn pitching staff had a 4.78 ERA during the Kentucky series, the lowest ERA for a three-game SEC series this season and the lowest since having a 4.26 ERA in its series with Ole Miss in 2008 ... Auburn dropped its season ERA from 6.28 before the series started to 6.19 after the series.
STATISTICAL ODDITY: Auburn's home run total (100) still remains higher than the team's doubles total (99) ... Auburn has collected 212 extra-base hits on the season, which ranks sixth all-time at Auburn.
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