Starkville, Miss.--Dropping the series opener on Friday night against Mississippi State and facing a doubleheader on Saturday because of expected bad weather coming into the area on Sunday, it’s not a good time for health issues to crop up for the Auburn Tigers (30-13, 12-7), but that’s exactly what Coach Butch Thompson’s team is up against.
That starts on the mound where sophomore Casey Mize (6-1, 1.23 ERA) was listed as available heading into the weekend with the expectations that he would throw in Sunday’s game. With the game moved up a day, Thompson said it could definitely change things as far as Mize’s availability is concerned.
“I think it’s more doubtful for us,” Thompson said. “I don’t think there is any way he’ll throw in the first game. Then we’ll regroup. We’ve got another opportunity to throw and play catch. We curbed the throwing today because of the decision to play two was made today before the first game.
“We went a little bit lighter. We’ll do it again tomorrow. I didn’t like it getting shortened, but it is the right decision if you look at the forecast. I think it will be more touch-and-go playing on Saturday instead of waiting until Sunday.”
The injuries weren’t limited to Mize as two starters were also unable to go on Friday with shortstop Luke Jarvis battling back spasms and right fielder Daniel Robert dealing with arm issues. While Robert was still able to DH for the Tigers, it caused a shuffle in the lineup with Will Holland taking over at shortstop and Jeremy Johnson getting the start in the outfield along with Jonah Todd and Bo Decker.
It also meant that freshman Conor Davis would be out of the lineup, one of Auburn’s steadiest hitters this season.
With games at 2 p.m. and 7 p.m. CDT o Saturday that makes for a long day, one that Thompson said he’s still not sure how his team will handle in terms of a lineup.
“I was expecting him to go,” Thompson said of Jarvis on Friday. “When he was able to play Tuesday I thought we were good because that would have been the day to hold him out. We were a little bit shocked and surprised.
“We actually came to the ballpark with two different lineups and I didn’t foresee that when we sat down and met on Thursday. I guess on the ride over and practice it really stiffened up, but we have options. Will Holland at 100 percent is better than a lot of guys. That’s why we played guys all year, for Jeremy Johnson to have good at-bats.
That’s by design. I thought Jeremy Johnson’s at-bats were good. I thought Will made three or four plays defensively and had a couple of at-bats. If he’s not ready to go we won’t make any excuses and come out and win with what we’ve got. And we think it’s good enough.”
Freshman Davis Daniel (3-2, 4.14 ERA) takes the mound for Auburn in the 2 p.m. game on Saturday with right-hander Cole Gordon (2-0, 4.55) pitching for the Bulldogs. The Tigers are TBA for the 7 p.m. game with the Bulldogs throwing right-hander Jacob Billingsley (1-0, 4.18).