Tomscha's Power Surge Leading Auburn Offense

Damek Tomscha has homered in four of the last five games for Auburn as the Tigers get ready to open SEC play against Texas A&M this weekend.

Auburn, Ala.--Heading into this weekend's series against Texas A&M to open SEC play, the Auburn Tigers are riding a five-game winning streak thanks to some quality pitching and timely hitting. While Jordan Ebert, Ryan Tella and Dan Glevenyak have all done their part at the plate, it has been the power surge from senior Damek Tomscha that has jumpstarted Auburn's offense.

Struggling at the plate early in the season, Tomscha has caught fire in the last week and it been something to behold. Homering in four of Auburn's last five games and the last three in a row, he leads the team with a .356 average, five home runs, 16 RBI, a .733 slugging percentage and an on-base percentage of .508. Settling into his new role as mostly a first baseman in addition to getting some work on the mound in practice situations, Tomscha said it feels good to be in a groove with his swing following a slow start.

"I'm seeing the ball pretty well," Tomscha said. "It's definitely huge and it takes some of the pressure off being one of the big guys in the middle of the lineup. You know you have to hit some home runs, but at the end of the day I'm trying to square up some balls and hit them in the gap. They just happen to be going over."

Winning seven of their last eight games, Auburn's run has been fueled by an offense that started making opponents pay with runners in scoring position and mixing in the occasional home run for the instant scoring. Totaling just 31 runs in the first nine games with five losses, the Tigers have scored 49 runs in the last eight contests. Tomscha said that kind of success breeds confidence and that's what you need in any sport to get the job done.

"Once you see a guy go up there and get a good swing on the ball you can just see in the dugout that guys know you can hit the guy," Tomscha said. "When you put a good swing on a pitcher it bothers them too. When you've got guys that can swing the bat, I know Blake Austin is going to come around, and as long as we get the win we'll be fine."

Tomscha blasts one of his five home runs

Auburn's offense will be tested this weekend by a Texas A&M pitching staff that enters the game with an ERA of just 2.14. Holding the opposition to a batting average of just .201, they have struck out 153 batters with just 61 walks. Offensively, four players are hitting better than .300 for the Aggies with Patrick McClendon leading the way with a .400 average. The power comes from Logan Nottebrok, who has four of his team's eight home runs this season and a team-high 16 RBI.

Pitching Matchups

Friday: AU – RHP Dillon Ortman (3-1, 2.49) | A&M – RHP Daniel Mengden (2-2, 2.67)
Saturday: AU – RHP Keegan Thompson (3-0, 0.30) | A&M – RHP Parker Ray (2-0, 4.15)
Sunday: AU – RHP Justin Camp (1-1, 2.10) | A&M – RHP Grayson Long (1-0, 0.34)

Injury Update:

Freshman outfielder Anfernee Grier missed Wednesday night's game with Alabama State after injuring his hand last weekend. Despite playing on Tuesday night in a win over Kennesaw State, Grier could miss a few games or a few weeks with what appears to be a hairline fracture in his hand. Coach Sunny Golloway said they'll continue to evaluate his injury and they're hoping to get their leadoff man back soon. Without him the Tigers are expected to go with either J.J. Shaffer or Jackson Burgreen in right field.

With rain expected on Sunday, Auburn will face Texas A&M in a doubleheader on Saturday beginning at noon. Friday's game is scheduled for 6 p.m.

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