May 16, 2011
The Auburn baseball team will play its final non-conference game of the 2011 regular season on Tuesday when it travels to Mobile for a 6pm game at South Alabama. Auburn is trying to avenge an earlier loss to South Alabama in Auburn.
Auburn (28-24) will start Jr. RHP Andrew Morris (2-3, 6.68) on the mound while South Alabama (27-24) will start Jr. RHP Jarrett Bailey (0-0, 15.63).
Justin Fradejas has been one of Auburn's hottest hitters over the recent weeks, collecting 10 multi-hit games in the the last 14 to raise his average over 30 points to .332 from April 26. Not to be outdown is Tony Caldwell, who has upped his average over 25 points since the start of May, taking over the team lead in on-base percentage at .441, sixth in the SEC.
Casey McElroy continues his impressive junior campaign as he brings a nine-game hitting streak into Tuesday's contest. With just four regular season games remaining, he is ranked in the top 12 in eight offensive categories in the SEC (Batting Avg. - .362 - 6th; Slugging Pct - .543 - 7th; Hits - 76 - T1st; RBI - 50 - T3rd; Doubles - 17 - T6th; Home Runs - 7 -T9th; Total Bases - 114 - T4th; Sac Flies - 5 - T4th).
Following Tuesday's game Auburn will head to Knoxville, Tenn., where it will close out the season, attempting to clinch a SEC Tournament berth as well as a SEC Western Division Championship for the second consecutive season. Game times in Knoxville are 5pm CT on Thursday and Friday and 1pm on Saturday.
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AUBURN TIGERS (28-24, 13-14 SEC)
SOUTH ALABAMA JAGUARS (27-24, 14-13 SEC)
Tuesday, May 17 (auburntigers.com audio / WKKR 97.7 FM)
Auburn at South Alabama 6PM Stanky Field
Jr. RHP Andrew Morris (2-3, 6.68) vs. Jr. RHP Jarrett Bailey (0-0, 15.63)
AND DOWN THE STRETCH THEY COME!
Auburn stands in a four-way tie for first in the SEC West at 13-14 alongside Alabama, Mississippi State and Arkansas ... Auburn holds the tie-breaker on both Alabama and Arkansas but does not hold it against Mississippi State ... Auburn heads to Tennessee (5-22 SEC) in the last weekend while Alabama plays host to South Carolina (20-7), Arkansas plays host to Ole Miss (12-15) and Mississippi State plays host to LSU (11-16).
HOW WILL THE WEST BE WON?
Since the start of the two-division, 30-game conference schedule in 1996, no SEC Western Division champion has ever finished with less than 18 league wins, a fact that will change this year as the best record the top team in the West could finish with is 16-14, needing a sweep get there ... The fewest wins to ever claim an East division championship was 15 by South Carolina in 1999.
TRYING TO DEFEND THE WEST
Auburn is attempting to win a second straight SEC West title after going 20-10 in SEC play last year to win the West by two games over second-place Arkansas ... The last time Auburn won back-to-back division titles was in 1964 and 1965 when Auburn was in the Eastern Division.
CLINCHING A SEC TOURNAMENT BERTH
Auburn will clinch a SEC Tournament berth with just a single win over Tennessee and does not need any help to clinch ... Auburn is attempting to head to the SEC Tournament for the second straight season for the first time since going for seven straight seasons from 1997-2003.
Justin Fradejas is on a mini tear over the last 14 games, collecting 10 multi-hit games and raising his average from .295 on April 26 to .332 on May 15, going 27-for-63 (.429) with 18 runs scored in the process.
CASEY AT THE BAT
Casey McElroy is on a nine-game hitting streak, hitting .459 (17-for-37) since May 1 to raise his average from .341 at the end of April to .362 on May 15 ... In total, McElroy has reached base safely in 48 out of 52 games this season and has a .421 on base percentage and is ranked in the top 12 in eight offensive categories in the SEC (Batting Avg. - .362 - 6th; Slugging Pct - .543 - 7th; Hits - 76 - T1st; RBI - 50 - T3rd; Doubles - 17 - T6th; Home Runs - 7 -T9th; Total Bases - 114 - T4th; Sac Flies - 5 - T4th).
TONY THE TIGER
Tony Caldwell is closing the regular season on a hot streak, hitting safely in eight of the last nine games (May 1-15) and raising his average from .295 to .323 in that span (15-for-35, .429, seven RBI, seven runs).
AUBURN VS. THE YELLOWHAMMER STATE
Auburn is in completing a stretch of six consecutive games against in-state foes ... In 13 previous games against teams from the state of Alabama, Auburn is 7-6, hitting .291 as a team with a 4.75 ERA, posting wins over UAB, Jacksonville State, Alabama (three), Troy and Alabama State while losing at Jacksonville State, at Troy, twice to Samford and home to South Alabama and Alabama.
LAST TIME OUT
Auburn took two-out-of-three from Alabama to move into a four-way tie atop the SEC West.
Auburn closes out the regular season at Tennessee, where it has won five consecutive series and is 33-15 all-time.
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