Tigers Hope to Continue Momentum Vs. Gators

Auburn needs another big weekend on the diamond as the Tigers face the Florida Gators in the next-to-last weekend of the regular season.

Auburn, Ala.--With four consecutive wins and an offense that has come out of its shell, the Auburn Tigers (29-19, 9-15) take to the road this weekend to face the Florida Gators in an important SEC baseball series for both teams.

Needing to keep winning to keep alive its chances for a postseason berth, Coach John Pawlowski's club has momentum heading into Gainesville with only two weekends of the regular season left.

"I'm looking forward to getting back in SEC play and playing a very talented Florida team," Pawlowski says. "We have six conference games left and every game and every series certainly has a big impact down the home stretch."

Playing at Florida for the first time since 2008, Auburn will square off with a team that has had its share of ups and downs this season. Currently 27-23 on the season and 12-12 in SEC play, Florida is coming off being swept at LSU last weekend, but had two lopsided non-conference wins this week.

Auburn will send junior college left-handers Conner Kendrick (3-3) and Michael O'Neal (8-3) to the mound on Friday and Saturday while Sunday's starter is yet to be determined. Florida will counter with Jonathan Crawford (3-5) and Danny Young (3-4) the first two games of the series and is TBA for Sunday's game.

Currently 11th in the SEC standings, the Tigers are hoping their offensive outburst continues on the road vs. the Gators. Prior to scoring eight runs on Saturday in a win over 18th-ranked Ole Miss, the Tigers had scored just 13 runs in their previous eight SEC games. With five runs on Sunday in the win, Auburn equaled that total in just two games. Throw in a 12-run inning on Tuesday and a six-run inning on Wednesday and the Tigers have got an offense clicking like it hasn't all season.

First baseman Garrett Cooper has been at the center of the offense for Auburn. The senior brings a team-best and personal-high 12-game hitting streak into the weekend. He's batting .426 during that time with three home runs, two doubles and six RBI.

"Florida's pitching staff is very talented," Pawlowski says. "I think the biggest thing right now is our confidence level offensively is as high as it has been all year. Last weekend against Ole Miss I thought we did some real positive things and had some real good approaches. We're going to need to have good approaches this weekend against Florida."

Game times for the series at Florida are scheduled for 6 p.m. central time on both Friday and Saturday and noon on Sunday.

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