It’s the bottom of the fifth inning at Auburn’s Hitchcock Field and Auburn and Tennessee are tied 4-4 in a must win game for both teams. Auburn outfielder Jay Gonzalez steps up and drives in two runs with a single up the middle and the Tigers pull away to eventually beat the Volunteers 11-4.
That Sunday afternoon win completed a three game sweep of the Vols moving Auburn up from ninth place into a tie for sixth overall and just one game out of second place in the SEC West. It was the first sweep of the season for the Tigers and the first sweep over Tennessee since 2001.
Although the confidence boosting sweep staved off elimination from the SEC Tournament field … there is no time to rest. The Tigers are on the road this weekend in another important SEC series at Athens against the University of Georgia.
Against Tennessee Auburn (25-19, 10-11 SEC) pounded out 41 hits and out-scored the Vols 35-11 for the week end, including hitting 19 extra-bases hits:13 doubles, three triples, and three home runs.
It was just what the doctor ordered to breathe some confidence into a team that (this writer thinks) should be at the least, tied for first place in the SEC West.
After all the Tigers are the top hitting team in the SEC, ranking first in on base percentage (.404), hits (474), triples (17), walks (185) and stolen bases (80) and is second in doubles (91).
In addition, Auburn’s .318 team batting average is the best in the SEC and the eighth best in the nation. There are seven Tigers batting over 300 led by Ryan Tella, who is among the SEC leaders with a .376 batting average.
However, Georgia (25-20, 9-12 SEC) is just one game behind Auburn coming off a losing series at LSU and are always a tough opponent. The Dogs offense is led by junior Curt Powell with a .355 average and junior Kyle Farmer who is hitting .292 with 27 RBI’s.
The two old foes will start it off tonight at 6 p.m. CST and the game will be broadcast by Sports South.
Taking the mound in the first game for the Dogs is sophomore southpaw Alex Wood, one of the SEC’s best pitchers with a 5-1 record and 2.69 ERA. Auburn will counter with right hander Jon Luke Jacobs who is 5-1 with a 3.21 ERA.
This is another important series for Auburn for three reasons. First it will not only impact SEC Tournament seeding but may have NCAA post season implications with both teams currently tied nationally with a 46 RPI (Rating Percentage Index).
And then of course there is always the thing for me, of never wanting to lose to Georgia – in any thing. I always, always, always want to beat the Dogs!
Friday’s game was tied at 1-1 going to the bottom of the sixth, Georgia used two singles, four walks and a hit batter to score four times and go on to take a 5-2 win.
Saturday’s game went in to extra innings with the Dogs getting a 6-5 win in the 11th.
Georgia sweeps Tigers in Sunday’s game 9-3. The loss dropped Auburn’s record to 25-22, 10-14 SEC while Georgia improved to 27-20, 12-12 SEC. Auburn has two SEC series remaining before the SEC Tournament.