Tigers Hoping To Be Luckie Again

Auburn's Cory Luckie talks about his comeback from injury and about his Friday night start against Arkansas.

Auburn, Ala.--After months of extensive rehab following Tommy John surgery, Auburn sophomore pitcher Cory Luckie returned to the mound this season and early on had some success, but also had his share of struggles. Following two solid outings in the last two weekends, including a complete game win at Vanderbilt, Luckie will take the mound Friday night at Arkansas looking to give the Tigers the second-consecutive win to open an SEC series.

Currently tied with Cole Nelson for the team lead in wins with five, Luckie has an ERA of 6.64. That number has come down dramatically in his last two outings though as the Prattville native has allowed just six runs on 11 hits in 14 2/3 innings in wins over Vanderbilt and Kentucky. He says that success has given him a lot of confidence as he continues his comeback for the Tigers.

"These past couple of outings have really helped me out a lot," Luckie notes. "It has taken such a long time just to get back comfortable and to start feeling back to normal. My arm has been there for a while, but it has been the whole mental side and getting the mechanics down pat. I'm starting to feel a lot more comfortable now."

With Luckie back throwing well and the pitching showing drastic improvements over last season, Auburn has raced out to a 28-14 record overall and 10-8 in SEC play. This weekend they'll be tested though as Arkansas enters 34-8, 13-5 in the conference and ranked seventh in the country. Luckie says there is no question it will be a huge challenge for the Tigers.

"Obviously they are doing a really good job on offense this year which is a lot different than last year," Luckie says. "They are a completely different team. Their pitching staff is good. They're just an overall solid team. When you go to Arkansas it's an awesome place to play college baseball. Anybody will tell you that. That's one thing a lot of the guys are excited about. It's going to be a big challenge for us this weekend."

Luckie has a good idea of what to expect at a sold-out Baum Stadium in Arkansas because he's already pitched in that environment once in his career. As a freshman Luckie got the start against the Razorbacks and while he got the loss he allowed just three earned runs in six and two/thirds innings. That experience is something he says he'll draw on Friday night as he hopes to get the Tigers off and running in a key SEC Western Division showdown.

"I think it does help," Luckie says. "They've got 10,000 fans every game. They are yelling in your ear and yelling at you when you come off the field. I really think the experience factor is going to help with a lot of our guys. We've been here for a while. That's going to be a big deal I think."

The series gets underway Friday night at 6:30 p.m. with Saturday's start set for 2 p.m. and Sunday at 1 p.m.

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