Tech enters with some controversy following a bench-clearing brawl during Sunday's game against the Maryland Terrapins. With Tech leading 12-1 in the seventh inning, the teams got in a fight prompting the umpires to suspend the game. ACC officials are expected to have a ruling early this week on possible suspensions, which could have an effect on Tuesday night's game.
Despite those problems these are two teams that have been heading in opposite directions lately. While Tech is one of the hottest teams in the country, Auburn has dropped four out of five, including a 9-5 decision to this same Georgia Tech team last Tuesday night at Plainsman Park. That was a game that saw the Tigers' Arnold Hughey give an outstanding starting performance by pitching five innings and allowing just three hits and one run only to see Auburn's bullpen allow the Yellow Jackets to walk away with the win.
Pitching has been inconsistent in recent games for the Tigers, particularly out of the bullpen. What was once a strong point for this team is now a question mark as Auburn prepares to head into the second half of the SEC season when they face Mississippi State this weekend at Plainsman Park. The Tigers have given up nine or more runs in four of their last seven outings, but the other three starts have yielded just eight total runs.
Offensively it has been a roller coaster ride, too. Some days the Tigers look like world beaters at the plate, as evidenced by a three home run effort Friday night in a win over ninth-ranked Ole Miss. Other days it's a struggle to scratch out runs against even the most average of pitchers. That's something that must see improvement over the final five weeks of play if this team hopes to advance to the Hoover Met for the 2002 SEC Baseball Tournament.
Catcher Bobby Huddleston
Bobby Huddleston leads the way for the Tigers at the plate with a .397 average while also chipping in with five home runs and 28 runs batted in. Behind him is lead-off man Jonathan Schuerholz at .364. That average is a far cry from where he was just 12 games ago when he was hitting .473, but a 2-for-21 slump has him searching for the magic once again. Maybe a trip to his hometown of Atlanta will be just what the doctor ordered for the junior third baseman.
Auburn junior Jonathan Schuerholz
For the Yellow Jackets it all centers around All-American shortstop Victor Menocal. Hitting .410 on the season with 12 doubles and 29 runs batted in, the hard-hitting and solid fielding senior leads Georgia Tech with his play on the field and his leadership off it. Jeremy Slayden is the power man for Tech with 11 home runs and 34 runs batted in. Tech has scored 309 runs while allowing just 159.
The first pitch is scheduled for 6 p.m. CDT (7 p.m. local time) inside refurbished Russ Chandler Stadium and both starting pitchers are still listed as TBA. Expect Andrew Skinner (1-1, 3.38 ERA), Ken Clayton (0-2, 5.75), Reid Price (0-0, 1.50) and others to get some work for the Tigers while Tech could throw either Chris Goodman (3-0, 4.09) or Phillip Perry (2-0, 4.05).