SEC Season Almost Here for Baseball Tigers

The baseball Tigers play two more non-conference games before opening conference play this weekend as Texas A&M visits Plainsman Park.

Auburn, Ala.--Without a hit for the week heading into Sunday's game against Mercer, senior center fielder Ryan Tella has felt like his swing and approach at the plate has been much better over the course of the last few weeks, but things weren't falling his way. With the Tigers looking for the sweep against the Bears, Tella's time finally came.

Already with two hits on the day, including a triple, Tella came up with the bases loaded and two outs in a tie game and delivered the game winner in the bottom of the ninth inning on Sunday. Coming through with his third hit, the speedy Tella improved his batting average to .356.

Making adjustments to how he has been doing things at the plate,Tella said it was great to see everything come together.

"I changed my stance," he said. "I widened it and got a little more crouch in my stance. Last year I was a little too tall and at the beginning of this season I was still too tall. I was leaning forward so I just widened it and crouched down a little bit. It keeps me from popping up and leaves me off the high pitches more.

"I'm still trying to get in the cage to get used to it," he added. "Widening it three or four inches is a big difference. It's different so I'll keep going to see if it works. If it works I'll keep doing it."

With the Tigers getting ready for SEC play this weekend against Texas A&M at home, Tella said it was another big step in the right direction in Sunny Golloway's first season on the Plains. Facing off against Kennesaw State on the road Tuesday and Alabama State on Wednesday before the Aggies come to town, Tella said there is no better feeling than getting a sweep before a tough week.

This Week:

Alabama 4, Auburn 3
Auburn 9, Mercer 5
Auburn 4, Mercer 1
Auburn 6, Mercer 5

Player of the Week:

Making the adjustment to left field, sophomore Jordan Ebert had a huge week for the Tigers. Going 6-11 with five runs scored, two runs batted in and three walks, Ebert is providing a big punch for Auburn at the bottom of the lineup. Throw in several nice plays in left field and it was a much-needed week for the former second baseman. Honorable mention goes to senior Damek Tomscha. Adjusting to life as a first baseman, Tomsha had just three hits, but two went for home runs as he added three RBI in four games.

Jordan Ebert

Pitcher of the Week:

It's hard to top what Keegan Thompson has done over the course of his young career, but he keeps performing at a ridiculous level for the Tigers on the mound. That continued over the weekend when he threw seven shutout innings and allowed just two hits in a win over Mercer. That extended his scoreless innings streak to 16 on the year and took his team-leading ERA down to 0.24. In 30 innings this season he has allowed just nine hits and one earned run and holding the opposition to a batting average of just .095.

What to Watch:

Justin Camp is expected to get the start on Tuesday night at Kennesaw State and it could be a tuneup for a possible spot in the rotation down the road. Even with Michael O'Neal coming off a solid outing on Sunday, the redshirt sophomore is pushing to move into the role on Sunday. That is not the biggest question mark on the pitching staff, however, as closer Terrance Dedrick struggled on both Saturday and Sunday, allowing eight hits and four earned runs in just two innings of work. Trey Cochran-Gill could slide into the closer role or senior Jay Wade could get a shot. In four appearances this season, Wade has given up just two hits and hasn't allowed a run.

This Week:

Tuesday--at Kennesaw State, 5 p.m.
Wednesday--Alabama State, 6 p.m.
Friday--Texas A&M, 6 p.m.
Saturday--Texas A&M, 3 p.m.
Sunday--Texas A&M, 1 p.m

All times Central

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