Auburn Looking For Road Upset Vs. Hawgs

Auburn takes on a talented Arkansas team in a three-game series on the road beginning Thursday night on ESPNU.

Auburn, Ala.—Coach John Pawlowski's Auburn baseball Tigers are looking for a strong finish to an up and down 2012 season as they travel to Arkansas to face a powerful Razorback team in a three-game series.

Needing wins in a big way to get closer to being able to compete in the postseason, Pawlowski said his team will need to play well against a talented opponent.

"Arkansas is an outstanding team and one that provides a lot of different challenges for us," he said. "When you look at the top tier of our conference and you look at some of the numbers on the board obviously with Arkansas it starts with pitching. They have tremendous arms and an experienced team. You're going into a very big and exciting college environment.

"Our team continues to work hard and try to find a way to get better here down the home stretch," the coach said. "It will be an opportunity for us to play some of the better teams in our league and it's certainly an opportunity for us to make some moves down the home stretch."

Hitting .331 with five home runs and 31 RBI this season, junior college transfer Garrett Cooper has been one of the bright spots for the Tigers this season. Getting his feet wet throughout the SEC season, the big junior said he's hoping the confidence Auburn gained in a big 18-2 win over Presbyterian Tuesday night carries over into the series that begins Thursday night in Fayetteville.

"It was big," Cooper said of the win. "They played UCF over the weekend and knocked them off on Saturday. UCF is a top 15 team. It was huge for our confidence coming off the Georgia series. It helps us a lot with the amount of hits we had. Hopefully, we can continue that offense into the weekend."

Currently 26-22 overall and just 10-14 in Southeastern Conference play, the Tigers have had a minimal amount of success on the road this season with a series win at Ole Miss two of the just six wins away from Plainsman Park this season.

Having played at Arizona early in the year and winning in Oxford in front of large crowds each day, Cooper said he feels like the team is prepared for the atmosphere at Baum Stadium that awaits them.

"You don't want to play too tight because there's nothing worse than that," Cooper said. "It's a huge weekend for us. This weekend and next weekend are the only two weekends left. This weekend starts it off for us and taking one or two from them is big because they are a top team. It would be huge for us."

Auburn is looking for its third consecutive series win at Arkansas and the fourth overall series win in the last five against the Razorbacks this weekend.

Thursday's game is set for 6:30 p.m. CDT and can be seen nationally on ESPNU. Friday night's game is scheduled for a 6:35 p.m. start with Saturday's final game a 2:05 p.m. first pitch.

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