Coming off a successful weekend that saw them take two of three from number eight Mississippi State, the Tigers (18-21) will again face a Top 30 team in Troy (28-10). It will be the 15th time this season that Auburn will face a ranked opponent and the Tigers are 6-8 in those contests heading into Tuesday's game.
One of Auburn's steadiest pitchers of late, Clarence Nicely enters Wednesday's contest 1-1 with a 4.03 ERA. In his last four outings the sophomore has given up just two runs on four hits in 11 1/3 innings. Also expected to see time on the mound for the Tigers is freshman Paul Burnside, who has gone 13 consecutive innings without allowing an earned run. Because of only one day off before a trip to Florida the Tigers are also expected to use several other pitchers to keep the staff as fresh as possible for the weekend.
At the plate the Tigers are led by freshman sensation Mike Bianucci. Leading the team with a .400 average and seven home runs, Bianucci is second in the SEC in batting average. He has hit safely in 25 of 31 games played this season and has had at least two hits 15 times this season. Second baseman Tyler Johnstone has 53 hits this season and has reached base safely in 38 of 39 games this season.
The Trojans come into Wednesday night's game on a hot streak having won 15 of their last 16 games after a 5-4 victory over UAB Tuesday night in Troy. On the mound Troy is expected to throw either junior left-hander Jonathan Sabat (2-1, 5.50 ERA) or junior right-hander J.J. Whetsel (3-1, 3.55). They are led at the plate by All-American candidate Tom King, a transfer from South Carolina who has been the Sun Belt Conference Player of the Week three times this season.
The first pitch for Wednesday's game is scheduled for 6:30 p.m. at Riverwalk Stadium. The Tigers return to action this weekend in a three-game series at Florida.