Tigers To Face Jax State, Oklahoma State

Auburn will face Jacksonville State and No. 10 Oklahoma State this weekend at Plainsman Park.

Auburn, Ala.--Winter weather has wreaked havoc on the college baseball world this week and despite losing Thursday’s game against Alabama A&M it has worked to the advantage of Coach Sunny Golloway and the Auburn Tigers.

Originally scheduled to face Jacksonville State in a three-game series this weekend at Plainsman Park, Auburn will now face No. 10 Oklahoma State on Saturday after the Cowboys’ series against Western Illinois was moved to Auburn because of the weather.

Coming off a win over Georgia Tech Tuesday night, Golloway said this weekend is another big one for his team. Getting ready for the rigors of the SEC when the Tigers travel to Texas A&M in two weeks to face the Aggies, the second-year coach said he is continuing to see good signs from his team after a 7-2 start.

“It’s going to be a fun weekend,” Golloway said. “We’re looking forward to competing. I just think it’s going to be fun for baseball enthusiasts here in the Auburn/Opelika area to be able to come out and watch both games on Friday, Saturday and Sunday.

“The weather looks like it’s going to be pretty good. Clearly, Oklahoma State comes in with a highly-ranked, quality club. I think JSU is a well-coached and quality club and a very worthy opponent. It sets up well for us.”

Something else that sets up well is Auburn’s pitching rotation. Using just Keegan Thompson and closer Justin Camp against the Yellow Jackets, the Tigers have almost the full staff at their disposal for this week’s game. Even though redshirt sophomore Cole Lipscomb (1-0, 3.60 ERA) missed his start against Alabama A&M, Golloway said the plan is to keep the weekend rotation the same this weekend against the Gamecocks and Cowboys.

That means Trey Wingenter (0-0, 2.53 ERA) will get the call on Friday with Rocky McCord (1-0, 0.00 ERA) on Saturday and likely Kevin Davis (1-1, 3.86 ERA) on Sunday. Golloway won’t rule out Lipscomb in some capacity this weekend and even as Sunday’s starter, but at the moment they are planning to stick with what is working.

“It goes back to the old theory that you don’t want to move everybody just to make an adjustment for one person,” Golloway said. “Right now Trey is still scheduled to go in game one for the weekend series and Rocky is still scheduled to go on Saturday. The adjustment that might be made is on Sunday with Kevin or Cole, depending on if we have gone to either one of those guys out of the bullpen.

“We’re going to ask that Trey be ready to go on Friday and Rocky be ready on Saturday. Keegan clearly isn’t an option to go this weekend as he will go Tuesday (Alabama in Montgomery). Then we will ask everybody else to kind of be ready on the pitching side of things.”

Jordan Ebert leads Auburn with three home runs this season

Auburn’s opponent on Friday and Sunday, Jacksonville State enters the weekend at 4-2 with both losses coming last weekend to Kennesaw State. Hitting .297 as a team, the Gamecocks are led by Tyler Gamble’s .471 average. A machine at getting on base, Gamble has 11 walks in addition to eight hits in six games for an on-base percentage of .667. Starting pitcher Tony Urban is 1-1 on the year with an ERA of just 1.74 in 10 innings pitched.

The defending Big 12 champions and a team that won 48 games a season ago, Oklahoma State returns five position players who made at least 29 starts last season as well as 12 members of the pitching staff. Among that group are All-Big 12 performers Gage Green, Donnie Walton, Jon Perrin and Tim Arakawa.

Part of an offense with a team batting average of .302 in eight games, Green and Arakawa lead the way with identical .387 marks for the Cowboys. With two of the team’s five home runs as well as a triple and a double, Green provides some punch while Arakawa and Kevin Bradley have nine RBI each to get the job done in the clutch.

Already a seasoned team with wins against Arizona State, Washington State, Utah, Washington and Missouri State with a pair of losses to the Sun Devils and another loss to Oregon State, Oklahoma State has faced one of the toughest schedules in the country to this point.

Friday:
Auburn vs. Jacksonville State, 3 pm
W. Illinois vs. Oklahoma State, 7 pm

Saturday:

Auburn vs. Oklahoma State, 3 pm
W. Illinois vs. Jacksonville State, 7 pm

Sunday:
W. Illinois vs. Oklahoma State, 10 am
Auburn vs. Jacksonville State, 2 pm

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