LHP LHP Kevin Ziomek (4-0, 0.87) vs. LHP Daniel Koger (0-0, 2.42)
Saturday (2:15 p.m.; TV-SPSO)
RHP Tyler Beede (4-0, 1.07) vs. LHP Michael O'Neal (4-0, 1.40)
Sunday (1 p.m.)
LHP Philip Pfeifer (2-0, 1.32) vs. RHP Rocky McCord (2-0, 3.44)
The 15-2 Commodores are ranked No. 2 in three polls, third in one poll and fourth in another. Vandy will be looking to get its SEC season off to a strong start at unranked 13-3 Auburn. The Commodores hope to avoid the mistakes made in a 7-5 loss at Oregon on Sunday that cost VU a sweep. Freshman Xavier Turner appears to have emerged as the starter at third base, a position that has been an Achilles' heel of late for the team. Turner was the only third baseman not to make a serious mistake against the Ducks. He hasn't been tearing it up at the plate but he has at least reached in six of the past eight games. Second baseman Tony Kemp (.438) has been the oil in Vanderbilt's offensive game. Kemp had multi-hit games in every game against the Ducks. Mike Yastrzemski (.295) blasted a homerun at Oregon that bounced off a field house well beyond the right field fence. Catcher Spencer Navin (.327) was injured at Oregon last week but is expected to play. Center fielder Connor Harrell (.305) leads the team with four homers and has 11 RBIs. Short stop Vince Conde (.361, 3 RBIs) has scored 11 runs over the past 11 games.
Auburn (13-3) is not ranked but has solid SEC talent. The Tiger's best win so far has been a 6-3 victory over rival Alabama on March 5. On the mound, Vandy's Ziomek will be facing off against Auburn lefty Daniel Koger on Friday. Koger has a fastball that reaches the high 80s. Koger, a Huntsville native, was selected Mr. Baseball in high school. Koger has 3 pitches and good arm speed. Another lefty, junior Michael O'Neal, is slated to pitch against with Vandy's Tyler Beede on Saturday. O'Neal is a junior college transfer who had 189 strike outs during his career at Chattahoochee Valley Community College. Philip Pfeifer on Sunday will duel with Tiger's sophomore righty Rocky McCord. McChord has a fastball that reaches into the low 90s among his 3 pitches.
Auburn's top hitter is freshman Jordan Ebert (.380, 1 HR) who has started 14 games. Ryan Tella (.293) leads the Tigers in RBIs with 20. Cullen Wacker (.292) has 12 RBIs. Catcher Blake Austin (.333) is on the Johnny Bench Award Watch List.
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