Daniel Robert (above) is hitting .300 for Coach Butch Thompson's Tigers.
Auburn, Ala.--The Auburn Tigers will play their final road trip of the SEC baseball regular season as they try to snap a four-game losing streak beginning with a Thursday night contest at LSU.
There have been multiple reasons why the Tigers have struggled in recent games, but none is bigger than the 54 runners left on base in four games--an average of 13.5 per contest.
Daniel Robert said the Tigers need to keep competing and not press to get out of their slump.
“We have had some bad luck,” said the senior from Briarwood Christian in Birmingham, citing examples of hard-hit balls by Auburn that were caught by opponents with runners in scoring position.
“Coach Sisson (Doug Sisson, batting coach) always has this approach where you are not worried about anything--just get a good pitch to hit and put a good swing on it,” Robert said. “If we have that mentality there really isn’t a moment that is too big. You are just trying to get a good pitch to hit.
“Sometimes the ball doesn’t bounce your way,” Robert pointed out. “Baseball is crazy, but the great thing is you can come back the next day and change the outcome. We will see this weekend.”
The next chance to change Auburn’s record takes place at 6:30 p.m. CDT on Thursday at Alex Box Stadium. Auburn (32-18 overall, 14-10 SEC) will face an LSU team that is 32-17 overall and 15-9 in the SEC. LSU is ranked as high as No. 10 nationally in a poll this week while AU’s highest ranking is 13th.
“Just keep your head down--don’t focus on rankings or anything that is going on, just battle each at-bat, each pitch and make adjustments,” Robert said when asked the key to success for his team.
“Don’t let the moment be bigger than what it is,” he added. “It is the same game we have all been playing all year and we have been doing a great job. Four games ain’t going to derail us and end our season.”
Robert, who has missed playing time recently with a sore elbow, returned to the lineup vs. UAB on Tuesday night and went 1-4 at the plate.
“I have thrown a pretty good amount of pitches,” said the senior, who also can contribute as a relief pitcher. “I kind of tweaked a little nerve and it was scary at first after seeing the doctor I am fine. I am ready to go.”
Asked about the match vs. the Bayou Bengals, Auburn coach Butch Thompson said “I just think they are a good ball club. They have 15 (SEC)?wins, we have 14 wins. We both have a lot to play for. It will be an unbelievable environment. I think we have played on the road in a couple of really big environments this year already. Hopefully, that serves us well. To me that is what this SEC baseball is all about.”
Luke Jarvis is hitting .282 with five homers in his first season at Auburn.
Baseball Notes: AU’s coach said he is hopeful that shortstop Luke Jarvis, who has been limited in recent weeks by a back problem, will be ready to contribute. Thompson said the medical report this week was encouraging, but noted it is not a given Jarvis will be ready to play on Thursday night depending on how his back muscles respond to treatment...After the LSU series Auburn will close the regular season with three home games vs. Ole Miss....Thompson said he has been pleased with how Damon Haecker has performed at catcher this year and considers the senior the co-starter with Blake Logan. “I have been impressed with him all year,” Thompson said. “He has got a great baseball brain. He has a great mentality, too. He has really served the pitchers well. Mechanically and technique-wise he has really grown as the year has went along.”
Auburn Pitching Rotation:
Thursday--Jr. LHP Andrew Mitchell 5-2, 3.21 ERA
Friday--Jr. Keegan Thompson 5-3, 2.08 ERA
Saturday--So. RHP Casey Mize, 6-1, 1.39 ERA
LSU Pitching Rotation:
Thursday--Jr. RHP Alex Lange, 5-5, 3.27 ERA
Friday--Sr. LHP Jared Poche, 8-3, 3.33 ERA
Saturday--Fr. RHP Eric Walker, 4.09 ERA
Top Offensive Players: Auburn
Jonah Todd, .383 batting average
Daniel Robert, .300 batting average, 6 home runs, 37 RBI
Top Offensive Players: LSU
Greg Deichmann, .333 batting average, 16 homers, 57 RBI)
Antoine Duplantis, .319 batting average, one home run, 42 RBI
Thursday 6:30 p.m. ESNP2
Friday 7 p.m. SEC+
Saturday, noon SECN