Offense The Key For AU In 3rd Straight Series

Justin Bryant

Auburn's 6-3 record in the Western Division has the Tigers on top after three weeks of play in the league.

Auburn, Ala.—As much good work as the Auburn baseball Tigers had done the first two weeks of the SEC season, three consecutive losses following a Friday night 5-3 loss to Mississippi State had Coach John Pawlowski wanting to shake up his team. That meant challenging the Tigers to be more aggressive offensively.

Pawlowski's talk to his team paid off in a big way for Auburn as the Tigers scored 18 runs on 24 hits to win the final two games of the series against the Bulldogs and climb into first place in the SEC West after three weeks of play in the league.

On Sunday vs. the Bulldogs Auburn's offense produced 11 hits with two outs and scored seven of the team's eight runs with two outs. Justin Bryant said that's just what this team is all about.

"I think it shows we're fighters," Bryant said. "Two-out hits are the most underrated thing in baseball I think because it's just a heartbreaker for the other team. You get the first two outs and you're cruising along and all of the sudden you bang in a run. For us to be able to do that with two outs in big situations, it's very big."

First baseman Garrett Cooper said the team was determined to make something happen offensively after Pawlowski challenged them.

"Friday night we faced a first round draft guy and it was tough to get hits against him," Cooper said. "He made some good pitches. Coach Pawlowski told us to come out and see if we could put up more than four runs a game. We exploded on Saturday and again on Sunday for eight."

Now with a rivalry series coming up on the road at Alabama, Cooper said it's huge for the Tigers to keep their momentum going after opening SEC play with three consecutive series wins for the first time in nearly a decade.

"It's really nice," Cooper said. "You couldn't ask for more after losing on Friday night. Coming back to win the last two, we haven't done that since 2003 I think. It's really nice. We face Alabama next week and hopefully we can take another series from them."

Garrett Cooper

Auburn Offensive Player of the Week: There are several Auburn players who had a good effort at the plate for the Tigers, but two rose to the top in junior first baseman Garrett Cooper and sophomore right fielder Jay Gonzalez. Playing a very good defensive first base, Cooper also swung the bat well going 8-17 with five runs scored and three RBI in four games. Slumping early in SEC play, Gonzalez had a bounce back week hitting leadoff going 6-12 with three runs scored, one RBI, and six walks.

Pitcher of The Week: Two players again had a good week for the Tigers on the mound as freshman starter Daniel Koger earned his second win of the year on Sunday, giving up just two runs on six hits in six innings. Reliever Slade Smith allowed one earned run on five hits in six innings of relief against the Bulldogs, picking up his third save of the season on Sunday when he allowed just one hit in three innings.

Friday Night's Results
Mississippi State 5, Auburn 3
Tennessee 10, Alabama 8
South Carolina 8, Vanderbilt 3
Ole Miss 3, Florida 0
LSU 10, Arkansas 6
Kentucky at Georgia, ppd.

Saturday's Results
Auburn 10, Mississippi State 6
Georgia 7, Kentucky 6
Kentucky 9, Georgia 8
Alabama vs. Tennessee (Suspended)
Florida 9, Ole Miss 4
Vanderbilt 12, South Carolina 4
LSU 2, Arkansas 1

Sunday's Results
Auburn 8, Mississippi State 2
Tennessee 4, Alabama 2 (Game 2)
Tennessee 5, Alabama 3 (Game 3)
Ole Miss 7, Florida 6
LSU 3, Arkansas 2 - 11 innings
Kentucky 11, Georgia 2
South Carolina 6, Vanderbilt 4 - 13 innings

SEC Standings Week Three

Western Division
Auburn 17-11 6-3
LSU 22-6 6-3
Arkansas 22-6 5-4
Ole Miss 20-8 5-4
Mississippi State 18-11 3-6
Alabama 9-18 1-8

Eastern Division
Kentucky 27-2 7-2
Florida 24-4 6-3
Tennessee 17-10 5-4
Georgia 18-11 4-5
South Carolina 20-8 3-6
Vanderbilt 11-17 3-6

SEC Schedule Week Four
Auburn at Alabama
Georgia at Arkansas
LSU at Florida
Ole Miss at Kentucky
Vanderbilt at Mississippi State
Tennessee at South Carolina

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