Strong Auburn pitching meets weak LSU hitting in 3-game set
By Bradley Handwerger
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Good timing, meet Auburn.
Auburn, meet LSU.
When Tom Slater's Tigers (21-11, 1-8 SEC) travel to Baton Rouge, La., for a baseball series against LSU (17-13-1, 3-5-1), they're running into a team that has struggled as much as any team in the league.
And with two straight wins, including one against Ole Miss, Auburn no longer has to answer questions about a losing streak against SEC teams.
Not that the questions ever made the team think negatively of itself, Slater said.
"The kids never stopped believing in themselves," Slater said. "We never got down on our team."
Heading into Friday's opening game, Auburn's strength — pitching — will go against LSU's weakness — hitting. For once, Auburn should enjoy a big advantage.
"We're pretty good on the mound," Slater said. "We send guys out with the capability of winning in the SEC every time."
Auburn boasts a team ERA of 3.36 away from home, and the duo of Paul Burnside and Taylor Thompson, Auburn's Friday and Saturday starters, respectively, are a combined 7-1.
LSU, meanwhile, is hitting an SEC-worst .249 batting average. Only two Bengal Tigers are batting higher than .300.
Add to that LSU's pitching woes, and the series is ripe for the picking for Auburn.
LSU carries a 5.10 ERA, 11th out of 12 SEC clubs.
That could help Auburn break out of its scoring troubles, something Slater said is holding back his Tigers.
"We've got to score more runs," Slater said. "We're doing things offensively I like. Stealing bases. Moving runners over. Getting runners in scoring position.
"We've just got to bring them in."
Friday’s game:Auburn (21-11, 1-8 SEC) at LSU(17-13-1, 3-5-1), 7 p.m.
Saturday’s game:Auburn at LSU, 3 p.m.
Sunday’s game:Auburn at LSU, 1 p.m.
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