Red Hot Tigers Take On Trojans

Auburn, Ala.--Hoping to continue a hot streak into a weekend trip to Clemson, the Auburn Tigers take on the surging Troy State Trojans Tuesday afternoon at Plainsman Park.

Auburn is 13-1 overall and has won nine-straight games while the Trojans are off to their best start at 8-1 since they opted to move up to Division I standing. Seven of the eight wins this season have come against the Samford Bulldogs.

A deep baseball team that has featured a different starting lineup in every game this season, the Trojans are led at the plate by Casey O'Quinn, who is hitting .355 with two home runs and seven runs batted in this season. Brian Bennett is another player that is very dangerous at the plate for Troy State, with an average of .312 with two home runs and six RBI. As a team the Trojans are hitting just .258 with eight home runs in nine games.

On the mound the Trojans haven't been spectacular, but it has been enough to get the job done. Opponents are hitting .284 against Troy State this season, but have scored just 49 runs in nine games. The star on the mound is reliever Nate Moore, who is 3-0 with one save on the year and has an ERA of just 0.84.

For the Tigers this will be another chance to see if senior pitcher Colby Paxton can find the rhythm that made him a starter for the better part of three years for the Tigers. He is eighth in all-time starts at Auburn with 46 and holds a 14-6 record in games at Plainsman Park. This season Paxton is 2-1 with a 4.26 ERA, but has given up just one run in his last six innings of work out of the bullpen. He will square off against Troy State's Erik Wikstrom, who is 2-0 with a 1.00 ERA in three starts this season.

Riding high after four wins last week against teams ranked in the Top 25, Auburn once again has a tough week beginning with a game against the Trojans. In the last two seasons the Tigers are 22-10 against ranked opponents. The Tigers hold a 28-10 all-time series lead over Troy State, including a 19-6 mark at Plainsman Park. Auburn has won seven of the last eight meetings in the series.

During the current nine-game winning streak, the Tigers' pitching staff has a 2.33 ERA while holding opposing batters to a .192 batting average and has not allowed a home run. At the plate the Tigers are led by center fielder Clete Thomas. In the four wins last week Thomas hit .533 with five runs and a .611 OB percentage. Since moving into the leadoff spot seven games ago Thomas is hitting .500 (14-for-28) with 13 runs and a .576 on-base percentage. He is also a perfect nine for nine in stolen bases during the stretch. For the season Thomas is hitting .404 with five doubles.

Second baseman Tug Hulett continues to be a wonder at the plate with a .364 average, five doubles and 12 runs batted in. Hulett leads the team with 15 walks and has been hit by four pitches. His on-base-percentage of .538 leads the Auburn team. The power is supplied by catcher Josh Bell. This season Bell is hitting .352 with five home runs and 18 runs batted in, both leading the Tiger team.

The first pitch on Tuesday is scheduled for 3 p.m. This weekend the Tigers play at #25 Clemson.

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