“It’s a great feeling,” Lipscomb said. “I didn’t pitch much last year coming off Tommy John (surgery). I really worked hard last summer and last fall to get back to top form. I had a good season this year and the team played great behind me. I got some good wins and it’s really an honor to be named All-SEC.”
In addition to advancing in the SEC Tournament, a win for Auburn on Tuesday could seal a spot in next week’s NCAA Regionals for the Tigers. With an NCAA RPI of 23 heading into the week, Auburn is definitely in the hunt for continued postseason play and Lipscomb said now it’s just all about taking care of business against the Wildcats.
“There are a bunch of rumors out there and some people are saying we’re in and some are saying we’re on the bubble,” Lipscomb said. “All I know is that if we win I think it gives us a pretty good shot to get in. Our resume is pretty strong with some big non-conference wins in there so I think a win should seal it up for us. We’re going to come out and you’re probably going to see our best effort.”
There is no better place for a pitcher to get on the mound than at the SEC Tournament at the Hoover Met. Even with the fences moved in the park is still one of the largest that any college team will play on this season. That makes for a good time for a pitcher like Lipscomb who likes to pitch to contact and let his defense do the work.
“Coming off some of the parks we’ve pitched in where you have to be very careful who you pitch to and where you pitch, because there are some parks in the SEC where the ball really flies out of,” Lipscomb said. “This field really plays perfect for us. We have a pretty fast outfield and good pitching, which really allows you to attack the strike zone a little bit more because you know it’s going to be hard to hit it out of the park. You just let your defense do the work for you.”
Add in a dream of being in this situation after growing up in this state watching tournament after tournament hoping to one day get on that very field and Tuesday could be a great day for the redshirt sophomore.
“I have been coming here since I was four years old watching all kinds of SEC pitchers and SEC teams play,” Lipscomb said. “It has always been a dream of mine to pitch on this field. Tuesday is a pretty big game for us as everybody knows. It’s a pretty good opportunity for me to be on the mound and give us a chance to win.”
Auburn will face Kentucky ace Zack Brown (6-5, 3.31 ERA) in Tuesday’s game and Brown has been on a roll in recent weeks. His last time out Brown pitched a complete game shutout in a win over Missouri, allowing just four hits and striking out five. A week earlier he allowed just two runs in six and one/third innings in a win over Georgia, striking out six.
Hitting .289 as a team, Kentucky is led by athletic second baseman JaVon Shelby. Batting .318, third behind Ka’ai Tom’s .368 average and Kyle Barrett’s .352 mark, Shelby leads the Wildcats with nine home runs and is second on the team to Tom’s total of 49.
A key for the Tigers will be playing a clean game in the field against the Wildcats. Auburn is 20-3 when playing error-free baseball this season. In its 34 wins, Auburn has compiled a .986 fielding percentage with 18 errors. In their 20 losses, the Tigers have fielded at a .954 clip with 38 errors.
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