Auburn, Ala.--Winners of 13 of their last 16 games, the No. 7 Auburn Tigers (23-8, 7-2) take to the road this weekend when Coach Butch Thompson’s team takes on a talented Texas A&M squad in College Station.
With a record of 20-10 overall and 3-6 in SEC play, the Aggies are coming off a series win at LSU last weekend and have plenty of good players to go along with one of the best atmospheres in college baseball.
The series is the start of two weeks away from home for Auburn with the Tigers playing Samford in Birmingham next Tuesday before a series at Tennessee on Thursday-Saturday.
First up is Texas A&M, an environment that Thompson said will test his team.
“I think I’ve been there twice as an opponent and it’s a neat college experience there with their fans,” he said. “Their students do a great job at Texas A&M. It’s a little unique with a double-decker type of stadium. It’s a great atmosphere.
“It’s another one of our venues and atmospheres that makes the SEC second to none," the coach said. "We are embarking on an eight-game road trip and we’ve got to take it one pitch at a time. All we have got is Friday night to think about and then we willl reset for each day.
“This will be our team together and hopefully this will draw us closer. This is the longest time of the year we’ll be away from Plainsman Park. It’s a great growing experience for us. It’s going to be filled with a ton of challenges, two SEC series in a row on the road, but I think it’s a chance for us to get close together if we’ll manage this thing right.”
Good news for the Tigers is they will have junior pitcher Keegan Thompson back on the mound this weekend against the Aggies, but he will be bumped to Saturday for his start with sophomore Casey Mize pitching on Friday night. Butch Thompson said hehe iss glad to be getting one of his ace pitchers back and he’s excited about his progress since leaving his start two weeks ago at Georgia with shoulder tendinitis and not being available for last week’s series vs. South Carolina.
“It will get back to a familiar rotation for us," the AU coach said. "I was thinking Sunday, but he’s excited me even more. (Wednesday practice) went so good and it was a heavy pen (bullpen). Once we dig into it and everything is good I’m trying to buy as much time as I possibly can, but he’s chomping at the bit and ready to get back out there.
“They’ve competed so good with one another, Casey doesn’t want to give it up and Keegan wants it back," Coach Thompson said of the Friday night starter's role. "That’s neat. I just keep trying to tell our guys, whoever throws the next pitch on the mound for Auburn baseball is our number one pitcher. I just like the guys competing.”
There is no TV coverage of the games at Texas A&M although the Friday and Sunday contests can be viewed on line at espn3/SEC+.
Tiger Ticket Note: Auburn senior outfielder Bo Decker is back and Butch Thompson said they’ll decide if he’s back in the starting lineup or how to use him this weekend at Texas A&M. Playing in just nine games before suffering a severely sprained ankle, Decker was batting .321 with a pair of doubles and six RBI.
Bo Decker is a senior outfielder for the Tigers.
Pitching Rotation: Auburn
Friday--So. RHP Casey Mize, 4-1, 1.58 ERA
Saturday--Jr. RHP Keegan Thompson, 4-0, 0.70 ERA
Sunday--Fr. RHP Davis Daniel, 2-1, 4.83 ERA
Pitching Rotation: Texas A&M
Friday--Jr. RHP Brigham Hill, 5-2, 2.60 ERA
Saturday--Jr. RHP Corbin Martin, 3-2, 3.90 ERA
Sunday--So. RHP Stephen Kolek, 1-2, 5.15 ERA
Top Offensive Players: Auburn
CF Jonah Todd .357, 10 doubles, 17 RBI
1B Daniel Robert .325, 26 RBI, 7 stolen bases
Top Offensive Players: Texas A&M
2B Braden Shewmake, .364, 3 HR, 12 doubles, 34 RBI
CF Nick Choruby, .313, 3 HR, 26 BB
Friday, 6:30 p.m., SEC Network+
Saturday: 3 p.m.
Sunday: 1 p.m., SEC Network+