JONAH TODD (PHOTO BY JASON CALDWELL)

Road Wins At Tennessee Sets Up Auburn Baseball For Series Vs. Another SEC Team That Is Playing Well

Auburn's baseball RPI is up to 28 following a weekend series win at Tennessee, setting up the Tigers with what could be an exciting series against SEC-leading Arkansas.

Auburn, Ala.--The old college baseball coaching thoughts have always been to take care of business at home and try to steal a game or two on the road along the way. At the halfway point of the 2017 SEC schedule the 10th-ranked Auburn Tigers have done that with Coach Butch Thompson's team 27-11 overall and 10-5 in league action.

The 10-5 SEC mark is the best for an Auburn team since 2004's 11-4 start and has the Tigers just a game out of the top spot in the league, held by this weekend's opponent, the 14th-ranked Arkansas Razorbacks.

When you look back at the first half of the SEC schedule there is no question that the opening weekend sweep of Florida set the tone for Auburn’s first 15 conference games. After dominating the Gators in game one, Auburn won a pair of one-run games on Saturday and Sunday to announce its presence to the college baseball world.

Going on the road to win a pair of games at Georgia, one of which came in another one-run victory, Auburn’s second big series came at home against South Carolina. Winning 5-4 on Friday before getting whitewashed on Saturday, the Tigers got a dramatic walk-off win over the Gamecocks on Sunday with a Conor Davis homer to take the series at home from South Carolina for the first time since 1996.

Doing what they needed to do in road trips to Texas A&M and Tennessee, which was break even at 3-3, Auburn now has a chance to play for much bigger things than many imagined this season with three of the final five SEC series at Plainsman Park.

With Arkansas visiting this weekend and Alabama and Ole Miss also coming to the Plains, just taking care of business at home will be enough to get the Tigers into an NCAA Regional no matter what they do on the road. If they can continue their trend from the first half it could mean 18 or 19 wins in the league. That would likely be enough to not only get into a regional, but be a host site for the first time since 2010.

While those things are out there for this team it won’t be a walk in the park because nothing has come easy for this team. With an 11-3 record in one-run games the Tigers have made plays at the right time for the most part this year, but it has taken getting every ounce out of a thin bullpen and doing just enough on offense to get the job done.

Putting Jonah Todd back in the leadoff spot and getting Conor Davis and Bo Decker in the lineup looks like it will add spark for the Tigers and they will need that this weekend with the power-hitting Razorbacks coming to town. Second in the league in batting average, Arkansas has 52 home runs compared to just 15 for Auburn. Also pitching well at fifth in the league in ERA, Arkansas will perhaps be the most complete team the Tigers have seen to this point.

Player Of The Week: Jonah Todd

It’s hard to have a better week than the one Auburn’s center fielder had last week as the Tigers won three of four games. Back in the leadoff spot, the junior went 11-16 with nine runs scored, four walks and two RBI. That included a pair of four-hit games, one coming on Tuesday at Samford and the other on Saturday at Tennessee. Todd’s .381 average is second in the league entering this week’s play and in 25 games hitting in the leadoff spot this year his average goes up to .392. Todd also ranks in the Top 10 in the SEC in runs (37, 5th), doubles (12, 5th), hits (53, 4th) and on-base percentage (.470, 4th)

DAVIS DANIEL (PHOTO BY JASON CALDWELL)

Davis Daniel is a freshman from Montgomery

Pitcher Of The Week: Davis Daniel

Any of Auburn’s three starters would have been candidates this week, but it’s hard to be better than Daniel was on Saturday in a win over Tennessee. Going eight innings, the freshman allowed just three hits and no runs while striking out five batters. He needed just 53 pitches to get through the last six innings.

 

SEC Standings: Week 5

Arkansas  11-4  29-8

Auburn  10-5  27-11

Miss. State  10-5  25-13

Kentucky  10-5  25-12

LSU  9-6  25-12

Texas A&M  8-7  26-11

Florida  8-7  24-12

South Carolina  8-7  22-13

Missouri  7-8  26-11

Vanderbilt  7-8  22-15

Ole Miss  7-8  22-14

Tennessee  4-11  18-15

Georgia  4-11  15-22

Alabama  2-13  14-22

 

SEC Week 5 Recap

Thursday’s Scores:

Auburn 3, Tennessee 2

Texas A&M 9, Alabama 5

Arkansas 14, Georgia 4

LSU 15, Ole Miss 2

Florida 10, Vanderbilt 6

 

Friday’s Scores:

Tennessee 5, Auburn 4 (10)

Arkansas 5, Georgia 4

Texas A&M 8, Alabama 2

Miss. State 7, South Carolina 4

Kentucky 5, Missouri 2

Vanderbilt 2, Florida 0

Ole Miss 4, LSU 1

 

Saturday’s Scores:

Auburn 8, Tennessee 1

Arkansas 11, Georgia 3

LSU 3, Ole Miss 2

Texas A&M 3, Alabama 2

Florida 20, Vanderbilt 8

Miss. State 5, South Carolina 4

Missouri 9, Kentucky 8

 

Sunday’s Scores:

South Carolina 6, Miss. State 1

Kentucky 6, Missouri 1

 

Week 6 Schedule:

Arkansas at Auburn

South Carolina at Florida

Tennessee at Texas A&M

Alabama at Miss. State

Missouri at Ole Miss

Vandy at Georgia

LSU at Kentucky


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