Auburn, Ala.—Following a sweep at the hands of #2 Vanderbilt to open SEC play last weekend, the Auburn Tigers had an even bigger task last weekend playing at #3 LSU, and the results were much of the same. Struggles on the mound combined with a continued lack of clutch hitting led to another sweep for Coach John Pawlowski’s club as the Tigers fell to 0-6 in league play for the first time since 2007.
With a mid-week game at Troy on Tuesday night leading up to a Thursday-Saturday series at home against Alabama this weekend, Auburn must make up some ground against its biggest rival. Still with eight SEC series remaining the Tigers have time to get the ship righted, but it must start against the Crimson Tide.
To do that Auburn will have to play better baseball than it did over the weekend in the sweep at LSU. Despite swinging the bat well for the most part, the Tigers couldn’t do anything with runners in scoring position. Senior outfielder Cullen Wacker says it was very frustrating to deal with, but they have to learn from their mistakes and get better on the field.
“It always seems like we come out and we’re down and have to come from behind,” Wacker says. “We have been able to come from behind against the mid-week guys, but in the SEC that’s going to be tough. We need to start getting ahead early and not put ourselves in a tough position to come back.
“It’s definitely frustrating, but we’re right there,” he adds. “We’re right on the edge. I would be happy to go 0-6 right now than to start off well and go 0-6 down the stretch. The only way we can go right now is up and that’s our mindset. We’ll get back to work and on the road Tuesday and then this weekend against Alabama. We feel like we can beat anybody in the conference, but we just need to get that first win. After that we feel like we can get it rolling from there.”
Player of the Week: While Damek Tomscha had a good week, including three hits on Saturday, Wacker is the player of the week for the Tigers. Going 5-15 in four games with hits in all four, he drove in four runs while extending his hitting streak to 10 games.
Pitcher of the Week: After struggling much of the early season, sophomore Trey Cochran-Gill was solid in his start against Southern Miss on Wednesday as he allowed just three hits and no earned runs in five innings.
Newcomer of the Week: Junior college transfer Hunter Kelley had two hits in his first start on Saturday as he replaced freshman Jackson Burgreen in right field and in the leadoff spot. While he only went 2-11 for the week, he did a good job defensively in right field and may have found a home for the Tigers.
Number of the Week: Auburn's batting average actually went up eight points last week to .272, but the power numbers continue to be the problem for the Tigers. Still sitting at just five home runs, Auburn hasn't hit a long ball since March 8 against Brown. That's a streak of 11 games. Auburn is tied with Alabama and Tennessee with five team home runs this season with only Missouri's four fewer in the league.
Up Next: Alabama comes to town for a Thursday-Saturday series because of Easter on Sunday. That comes on the heels of a visit to Troy on Tuesday night. Currently 5-1 in SEC play with series wins over Tennessee and Georgia, Alabama is tied for first in the SEC through two weekends of play.
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