Tigers Head North to Face Bat Cats

The 11th-ranked Tigers will play three baseball games at Kentucky this weekend.

Lexington, Ky.--Auburn will try to keep its momentum from a strong start to the 2003 baseball season as the Tigers play a three-game SEC series starting on Friday vs. the Kentucky Wildcats.

Auburn, which is 2-1 in the league after opening SEC play at home last weekend vs. Tennessee, faces a Kentucky squad that is already in the hole in the conference with an 0-3 start. The Wildcats are 8-11 overall.

The first pitch in the series is scheduled for 2 p.m. CST on Friday from 3,000-seat Cliff Hagan Stadium.

Auburn, which is ranked 11th nationally by Baseball America, leads the series 56-31 and has a 22-17 record in Lexington. UK is not ranked.

Coach Steve Renfroe's Tigers come into the game with the momentum of a 7-5 Tuesday night victory in Atlanta over second-ranked Georgia Tech. Kentucky defeated Marshall 14-1 that same night in its last outing after dropping three games to Ole Miss over the weekend. The Bat Cats dropped 3-2, 9-2 and 7-5 decisions at Ole Miss.

Eric Brandon

Auburn is scheduled to pitch Eric Brandon in the opener on Friday. The junior right-hander has a 1-1 record and a 5.52 earned run average. The Wildcats will counter with senior right-hander Scott Wade, who is 0-2 with a 4.67 ERA.

On Saturday, the Tigers will go with sophomore lefty Arnold Hughey, who is 3-1 with a 3.62 ERA. The Wildcats will pitch lefty Heath Castle, a junior who is 1-1 with a 2.81 ERA.

On Sunday at noon CST, the Tigers will go with junior right-hander Colby Paxton, who is 2-1 with a 3.20 ERA. The Cats will pitch junior right-hander Seth Stanley, who is 1-2 with a 3.60 earned run average.

Auburn has dropped the opener of its last three series vs. Kentucky, but has won the next two games of the series. The Tigers have played well away from Plainsman Park this season, posting a 5-0 road record, their longest winning streak away from home since winning seven straight in 1998.

As a team, Kentucky is hitting .265 this season with a team earned run average of 3.89.

Tug Hulett

Auburn Baseball Notes: Sophomore second baseman Tug Hulett has a 10-game hitting streak. He leads the Tigers in hitting at .385...Auburn's game with Georgia Tech on Tuesday night in Atlanta was the 11th of the season vs. ACC opponents. Unless the Tigers meet a team from that conference in postseason play, AU will finish the year with a 9-2 record vs. ACC teams...Auburn has three walk-off victories this season and has won five games in its last at-bat...The Tigers are 8-1 in games decided by two runs or less. A strong bullpen probably accounts for that statistic with Steven Register leading the way. In his last 11 appearances, Register has an 0.86 earned run average with eight saves and two wins. As a group, the Tiger bullpen is 11-0 this season with an earned run average of 2.12...Javon Moran has 52 career stolen bases. With one more, he will move past Mickey Miller (1973-76) into fifth place on Auburn's career steals list...Auburn is 8-3 against ranked teams this season.

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