Auburn, Ala.—To say it was a successful opening weekend for the Auburn Tigers on the baseball diamond would be an understatement after Coach John Pawlowski’s club swept the Maine Black Bears in a four-game series. While the wins won’t guarantee this club is bound for the College World Series just yet, what it did show was a team that has improved depth in the bullpen and a team that can handle adversity.
In all four games of the series Auburn trailed at some point only to get comeback wins in each. The entire 2012 season the Tigers only had nine come-from-behind wins so it’s something that Pawlowski says he likes about his team already.
“The one thing is that it wasn’t easy,” Pawlowski says. “We were down 3-1 in the sixth inning (on Sunday) and didn’t have a lot of momentum going, but we got it shifted. It says something about the leaders in that clubhouse. The guys knew what the challenge was and how important this game was on Championship Sunday.
“I think the makeup of our team is something that is very important,” he adds. “The older guys have taken a great deal of pride in the program and what they are doing. They are buying in to what we are doing. We had a very good weekend as far as guys working hard and knowing what’s at stake. They needed to come out and play well and looking at the weekend I thought we did a lot of positive things.”
Player of the Week: It’s hard to argue with junior catcher Blake Austin after he hit .455 (5-11) for the weekend with a pair of RBI, but Ryan Tella was Mr. Productive for the Tigers in the first four games. Going 5-14 (.357), the junior center fielder had a triple, six RBI, and scored four runs.
Pitcher of the Week: While the entire Auburn pitching staff had a team ERA of just 1.75, it’s impossible to narrow down the job the bullpen did in the four games. In 11 total appearances the bullpen allowed just three earned runs in 17 innings and struck out 15 batters to earn three wins and two saves.
Newcomer of the Week: Since Austin Hubbard graduated the Tigers have been trying to find someone to consistently finish off games. They may have found that guy in junior college transfer Terrance Dedrick. Twice fellow junior college transfer Conner Kendrick held the lead and turned things over to Kendrick. In his two outings he earned a win and a save, striking out three of the four batters he faced in the process.
Looking Ahead: Auburn will host its tournament this coming weekend at Plainsman Park with Middle Tennessee, College of Charleston and Indiana State the field for the three-day round robin. Auburn will face MTSU at 6 p.m. on Friday, College of Charleston at 1 p.m. on Saturday, and Indiana State at 2 p.m. on Sunday.
Premium Subscription Signup