Auburn, Ala.--Heading into the final weekend with a one-game lead over Arkansas and Tennessee for the final spot in next week’s SEC Tournament, the Auburn Tigers find themselves in a position of likely needing at least one win to wrap things up.
Holding the tiebreaker over Tennessee, one win for Auburn would mean the Vols would need a sweep at Georgia to pass the Tigers. The more likely scenario involves Arkansas.
After sweeping the Tigers this season the Razorbacks hold the important tiebreaker over Auburn. That means one win for Auburn would require two wins for Arkansas at Mississippi State for the Razorbacks to move into the No. 12 spot ahead of the Tigers.
First things first for the Tigers and that means playing better than they did last weekend against Mississippi State when the red hot Bulldogs swept them at Plainsman Park. Building some confidence with a win over UAB on Tuesday night, senior Jordan Ebert said they’re hoping to carry that over against Vanderbilt and earn that spot in Hoover.
“Anytime you have your fate in your hands it’s a good feeling,” Ebert said. “Vanderbilt’s got some quality arms. The Sheffield kid (Jordan Sheffield, 7-4, 2.34 ERA), we faced him a little bit last year. We got to see Wright (Kyle Wright, 7-3, 1.67) a little bit last year. Everybody they throw out is going to be pretty good, we know that.
“Right now I’m soaking it in and our seniors are soaking it in,” he added. “We want to go to the SEC Tournament. Being as optimistic as I am, I want to go there and win it and we still have a regional in grasp. We just have to go there and take care of business.”
Needing the offense to have show up and get the job done against a pitching staff that has a team ERA of just 2.94, first baseman Niko Buentello said this Auburn team is still very confident they can get the job done.
“It was huge to get the ball rolling for this weekend,” he said of the win over UAB. “I know in the clubhouse we’re still very hopeful and we have a lot of confidence that we can go and win this series and do some damage in the tournament.”
Because of expected bad weather this weekend the schedule for the series has been changed. The two teams will play a split doubleheader on Thursday with the first game at 2 p.m. and the second starting at 6:30 p.m. There will be no game played on Friday with the final game of the series set for 2 p.m. on Saturday.