Last week Auburn made the trip to Mobile and came home disappointed as a big comeback against the Jaguars was spoiled. Auburn came from behind to force extra innings and led 9-6 after the Tigers scored three runs in the top of the 10th inning. However, South Alabama scored four runs in the bottom of the 10th inning to pull out the victory. It was USA's fourth straight victory vs. the Tigers.
What is normally a tough decision for the starting assignment on the mound during a mid-week game has been made even tougher this week for Coach Steve Renfroe after Sunday's blowout loss to Alabama. Using eight different pitchers, the Tigers will now likely piece together Tuesday's game with Chris Dennis, Cory Dueitt, Michael Nix, Grant Cardwell, Jared Shore and others getting some work. South Alabama will send senior right-hander Bert Heath to the mound. Heath is 1-2 on the year with an ERA of 9.45.
Offensively for the Tigers, sophomore center fielder Clete Thomas leads the way with a .331 batting average and 19 stolen bases. Coming on strong is left fielder Sean Gamble. Up to .283, the junior leads the team with 13 doubles and has 22 runs batted in. Since moving to the number two spot in Auburn's order last week, Gamble is 11-18 with three runs batted in.
While Gamble is on fire, the opposite is true of designated hitter Josh Bell. Down to .275, Bell has struggled to make solid contact for the better part of the last month and his average has dropped more than 40 points in the process. Since collecting three hits in a Friday night win over LSU back on April 2, Bell is just four for his last 32 at the plate and has struck out 13 times.
Auburn killer Adam Lind leads the Jaguars with a .361 average and has three home runs and 27 runs batted in this season. In last week's match-up it was Lind's three-run double in the 10th inning that was the difference in the game. Lind was named Sun Belt Conference Player of the Week after hitting .688 (11-18) for the week.
Quenden Montgomery is also a dangerous hitter at .324 with five home runs and 25 runs batted in. USA is hitting .288 as a team and have 26 home runs.
South Alabama is tied for second place in the Sun Belt Conference with a 6-3 record after taking two of three games at Western Kentucky for a 10th straight series victory in league play.
The Tigers return to SEC action this weekend when they take on the Mississippi State Bulldogs at Plainsman Park in a three-game series beginning Friday at 6:30 p.m.