Big Baseball Weekend For Auburn Classic

Auburn will take on three different opponents this weekend in the inaugural Auburn Classic at Plainsman Park.

Auburn, Ala.--After winning two of three against Southeast Missouri to open the baseball season, the Auburn Tigers return to action this weekend in the first annual Auburn Classic at Plainsman Park.

Facing Boston College, Missouri, and Florida Atlantic in single games on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday, Coach John Pawlowski's team will have to step up its play in week two of the season.

On Friday at 6 p.m. the Tigers will face a Boston College team coming off a series win at Tulane to open the 2010 season. After an impressive end to the 2009 season when the Eagles pushed top-seed Texas to the limit in Austin in the NCAA Tournament, they come into the weekend looking to continue their solid play.

Boston College hit .315 as a team against the Green Wave with Matt Watson's .500 average leading the way. Robbie Anston and Anthony Melchionda are both over .400 early in 2010 with Melchionda adding a home run and seven RBI. On the mound the Eagles will throw junior left-hander Pat Dean in the opener against Auburn. He's 1-0 with a 2.57 ERA after allowing just two runs on six hits in seven innings in the season opener.

Saturday doesn't get any easier for Auburn as the Tigers take on the Missouri Tigers (2-1) on day two. Defeating Washington 17-6 and New Mexico State 2-1 (10 inn.) while losing to Gonzaga, Missouri had a solid start at the Collegiate Cactus Classic in Tucson, Ariz., last week.

Though not as explosive the first weekend as Boston College, Missouri brings one of the top offensive players in the country in shortstop Michael Liberto. Hitting .692 through three games, he had a huge opening weekend despite not being a big offensive threat coming into the year. That belonged to Aaron Senne. The two-time All- Big 12 selection is a career .314 hitter, but had just three hits in 14 at-bats last weekend including a home run.

Senne should be a big part of Missouri's offense in 2010.

Missouri will throw junior right-hander Nick Tepesch on Saturday at 3 p.m. against the Tigers. He comes in with a 0-0 record and an ERA of 10.80 after allowing eight hits and six runs in five innings of work in his opening start.

On Sunday Auburn and Florida Atlantic will put an end to the weekend of games at 3 p.m. The Owls come into the Auburn Classic winners of two out of three games against Cincinnati to open the season. Hitting .296 as a team, they are led by Dan Sheffler's .417 average, one home run, and four RBI. In three games the Owls had two home runs and scored just 14 runs.

The mound is where they do their damage as Auburn will face freshman right-hander Kevin Alexander on Sunday. He's coming off an impressive win against Cincinnati to open the season when he allowed just four hits and no runs in six innings of work. As a team Florida Atlantic has an ERA of just 0.67 coming into Friday's games.

Game times for the weekend are Missouri vs. Florida Atlantic at 2 p.m. on Friday with Auburn sending sophomore Jon Luke Jacobs (0-1, 7.71) to the mound at 6 p.m. against Boston College. Saturday's schedule has Boston College vs. Florida Atlantic at 11 a.m. with junior Grant Dayton the starter for the Tigers at 3 p.m. against Missouri. Sunday will see Boston College take on Missouri at 11 a.m. and junior college transfer Cole Nelson on the mound for Auburn at 3 p.m. against Florida Atlantic.

In between games on Saturday, Auburn will honor the first group of inductees into the Wall of Fame at Plainsman Park as Tiger greats Bo Jackson, Gregg Olson, Frank Thomas and Tim Hudson will be honored for their contributions to Auburn baseball.

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