In a surprise move, Auburn head coach Steve Renfroe has decided to shake up the pitching rotation this week and will start ace Levale Speigner against the Jaguars. With a record of 2-1 on the season in three starts with an ERA of 4.82, Speigner is hoping to find the rhythm that has thus far escaped him this season. Although he pitched well against Clemson on Friday afternoon, this game is a chance for him to recapture his form from last season as the Tigers head down the homestretch leading up to conference play.
The Jaguars will counter on the mound with either Bert Heath or Adam Wood. Heath, 0-0 on the season with an ERA of 2.08 in eight and two/thirds innings pitched, is a sophomore right-hander. Wood, 0-1 on the season with an ERA of 2.08 in 8.2 innings pitched, is a sophomore lefty.
Bobby Huddleston crosses home plate and is congratulated by Sean Gamble after a home run earlier this season.
No matter who gets the start for South Alabama, he will face an Auburn lineup that has been the surprise of the team so far this season. No player has done more to make that surprise happen than junior designated hitter/catcher Bobby Huddleston. Hitting .500 on the season with eight multi-hit games out of the ten he has played in, the Montgomery native has given the Tigers some meat in the middle of the order, something that was a question mark coming into the season.
Adding more meat is the duo of Mike Mueller and Trent Pratt. A junior college transfer, Mueller is hitting .455 on the season with three home runs and 11 runs batted in. Last week the outfielder went 7-for-12 (.538) and currently has a seven-game hitting streak. Pratt, a senior catcher, is hitting .378 but is tied for the team lead with three home runs and leads the team with 19 runs batted in.
South Alabama holds a 27-13 advantage in the series history, including a 16-8 record at Plainsman Park. While Auburn has won four of the last five in the series, this game is always a tough one for the Tigers and this year's two contests should be no different. Auburn returns the favor later in the season when it travels to Mobile to play the Jaguars on April 3.
The Tigers return to action this weekend when they play Murray State for a three-game series at Plainsman Park. The first game scheduled for Friday at 3 p.m. as Auburn will send sophomore Colby Paxton to the mound. The starters for the rest of the weekend are expected to be sophomore Eric Brandon and true freshman Arnold Hughey.
Editor's Note: The baseball game against South Alabama has been canceled due to weather conditions. A make-up date for the game has yet to be determined.