Auburn, Ala.—Coach John Pawlowski and the Auburn Tigers are looking to rebound from a disappointing midweek loss to Kennesaw State as they take on Eastern Illinois this weekend in a three-game series at Plainsman Park.
Currently 6-2 on the season following a 9-2 loss on Tuesday, the Tigers are looking for the strong pitching to come back this weekend as the team enters with an ERA of just 1.75.
The first two games of the series the rotation is the same as last weekend for the Tigers as sophomore Daniel Koger (0-0, 0.00 ERA) takes the mound on Friday against Matt Borens (0-1, 3.18) for Eastern Illinois. On Saturday junior college transfer Michael O'Neal (2-0, 1.54) will be looking for his third win against Joe Greenfield (1-0, 0.66).
Lefty pitcher Daniel Koger is off to a good start this season.
On Sunday Eastern Illinois will send Andrew Grahn (0-0, 6.23) to the hill while Auburn has not announced its starter for the final game of the series.
A starter the first two weekends, sophomore Rocky McCord has struggled with a 9.53 ERA in just five and two/thirds innings of work. Because of that the Tigers are looking at a possible change for the weekend, but Pawlowski says the biggest thing he’s looking for at the moment is belief from his team.
“We’re trying to determine that third starter,” Pawlowski says. “Also, I think it’s important for our club to gain some confidence. There are some areas we’ve got to get better at and we’ve got to get some confidence going.
One of those areas that must improve is defensively. Auburn has committed 12 errors in eight games, but the problem has been the timing of the mistakes. In eight games the Tigers have allowed a total of 29 runs, but 15 have been unearned. It’s those numbers that must change if Auburn hopes to see improvement heading into SEC play in two weeks.
At the plate junior catcher Blake Austin leads the Tigers with a .400 average while Ryan Tella and Jordan Ebert follow behind at .333. Tella leads the team with 10 hits and 12 RBI this season. Overall the Tigers are hitting .282 as a team after batting just .265 (35-132) the last four games.
Auburn will face an Eastern Illinois team this weekend that enters with a 2-5 record and has wins over Jackson State and Alcorn State. As a team the Panthers are hitting .242 and have just one home run in their first seven games. On the mound Eastern Illinois has a team ERA of 3.96 , but is allowing teams to hit just .264 and has yet to allow a home run.
Game times for the weekend series are scheduled for 3 p.m. on both Friday and Saturday and 1 p.m. on Sunday.
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