Tigers Hoping Sunday Win Provides A Boost

Auburn's comeback win over Arizona State on Sunday could prove to be huge as the Tigers prepare to open SEC play this week.

Auburn, Ala.--It wasn't the perfect week for the Auburn baseball Tigers but following a win over Memphis and two tough losses to Arizona State on Friday and Saturday, getting a comeback win on Sunday was a huge step for coach John Pawlowski's 24th-ranked club heading into the opening weekend of SEC play.

Trailing 8-5 in the seventh inning Auburn scored a single run in that frame before scoring four in the eighth against the Sun Devils and holding on for the win on Sunday. Now 11-5 on the season, the Tigers showed plenty of toughness all weekend as they fought toe to toe with one of the nation's best teams. Shortstop Casey McElroy said it was an important win on Sunday for his team.

"It's huge," McElroy said. "The first two games of the weekend were really emotional games and really draining. They were back and forth. We would score and they would come back and score. The first two games we kind of came up empty handed. We were right there until the end. We just kept believing and coach kept using the word magic. We just battled until the end. It was huge for us and our program."

McElroy was one of the hitting stars of the week for the Tigers as he was 8-17 with three runs scored and five RBI in the four games. He currently has a career-high 11-game hitting streak. Senior second baseman Justin Hargett was also very good, going 7-18 with three runs scored and three RBI. However the star of the week was junior Dan Gamache.

A walk-on from Rhode Island, Gamache was an impressive 7-15 for the week with three doubles, a triple, and nine RBI. He also added three walks and didn't have a single strikeout in four games.

On the mound the pitcher of the week was junior college transfer Will Irvin. Winning over Memphis on Tuesday, Irvin allowed just a pair of runs on eight hits in seven innings and may be closer to moving into the weekend rotation with his performance.

This week Auburn has a tough road ahead as the Tigers play Alabama (11-5) in Montgomery Tuesday night at the Capital City Classic at Riverwalk Stadium and then take on Arkansas (12-2) in a three-game series at Plainsman Park to open conference play.

With some questions still surrounding the pitching staff and the team through the first four weekends, Auburn will begin defense of its SEC Western Division title this weekend but first it's a rivalry game against the Crimson Tide. Auburn has won each of the first two games in the Max CCC and Pawlowski said Tuesday night will be an important game for his team.

"It's a very important game," Pawlowski said. "Anytime you get Auburn and Alabama together no matter if it's chess or checkers it becomes important to a lot of people. It's very important to us."

The first pitch for Tuesday night is scheduled for just after 7 p.m. and can be seen on CSS. Irvin (2-0, 3.86 ERA) will take the mount for the Tigers against Taylor Wolfe (1-1, 6.00) for Alabama.

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