Fletcher On Fire For Tigers

Auburn outfielder Brian Fletcher is off to a big start to the 2010 season.

Auburn, Ala.--To say that Auburn left fielder has started the 2010 season on a good note is like calling the Grand Canyon a big hole. Hitting .440 to lead the Tigers through six games, Brian Fletcher's numbers get even more impressive when you delve deeper.

Last season the power-hitting right-hander had a very strong year as he hit .301 with 17 home runs, 54 RBI and nine doubles in 196 at-bats. This season with just 25 at-bats under his belt Fletcher already has four home runs, three doubles and an astounding 17 RBI. One of Auburn's veterans, he said right now things are just going his way to start the year.

"It's just one of those things where I was seeing the ball well at the end of the weekend," Fletcher said. "I got some pitches to hit and I was able to contribute and get some runs in.

"I got moved in the lineup to the four hole and it's just one of those mentalities I have," he added. "Guys get on base and I want to be that guy driving them in. It's just really knowing my role. I'm seeing the ball well throughout the past series. I'm just trying to help the team get the runs in."

This past weekend Fletcher was downright flammable for the Tigers as they won two of three games in the Auburn Classic. Going 7-11, he had three home runs including a game-winner in Friday's win over Boston College in the 10th inning. He totaled 11 runs batted in for the three games, over a third of the 30 runs scored by the Tigers on the weekend. It's not a surprise that those numbers were enough to earn SEC Player of the Week honors.

Not bad for a guy that took very few swings leading up to opening weekend because of an ankle injury. While teammate Trent Mummey's was serious enough to keep him out of the first month of the season, Fletcher shook off the rust quickly and hasn't looked back.

"Other guys have tweaks and what-not," Fletcher said. "I tried to get to rehab and get better each and every day. Some of those things I just try to come out and play and not think about it. I just want to help the team win."

Expected to get injured shortstop Casey McElroy back soon to add to an already potent lineup that is hitting .345 through two weekends, coach John Pawlowski is hoping to continue to have Fletcher swinging it well in the middle. He said right now he's seeing some very good things out of his left fielder and that means good things for the Tigers.

"We saw a lot of flashes last year," Pawlowski said of Fletcher's hitting ability. "He's certainly capable. He's got tremendous bat speed. His thing is he needs to continue to learn the strike zone even more. I think he's maturing as a hitter. That's the biggest difference I see so far. He's understanding what guys are trying to do. He's had some great at-bats for us."

Fletcher and the Tigers take on Davidson this week in two mid-week games. Sophomore Dexter Price will get the start on Tuesday at 6:30 p.m. with fellow sophomore Corey Luckie expected to start Wednesday's 3 p.m. game.

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