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SEC Series of the Week: Ole Miss at Auburn

The Auburn Tigers will host the Ole Miss Rebels tonight in the SEC Game of the Week on ESPN U. The Tigers enter the series with a 7-8 record which puts them one game behind a trio of squads that are tied at 8-7 including Ole Miss.

Auburn is led offensively by junior infielder Casey McElroy who was named a 2010 Cape Cod Baseball League All-Star. This college sees him hitting .360 with six homers and 36 RBI as he leads the team in all three Triple Crown categories. Dan Gamache is second on the squad with a .321 batting average with two homers and 22 RBI. Justin Hargett is also above .300 with a .301 batting average while driving in 19 runs.

Junior RHP Derek Varnadore will get the ball on Thursday night as he is 4-1 with a 3.85 ERA in his eight starts on the year totaling 50.1 innings. He has been excellent at holding his opponents bats quiet with a .223 batting average against. Cory Luckie will get the ball on Saturday as he is 1-1 with a 4.60 ERA in 10 appearances (seven starts) totaling 43.0 innings. He has struggled at getting batters out with a .352 batting average against. Auburn hasn’t announced a starter for the Friday night game at this time. Ethan Wallen serves as the team’s closer as he is 3-3 including five saves in 17 appearances with 31 innings pitched.

Ole Miss offense in 2011 has been led by Tanner Mathis and Alex Yarbrough. Mathis is currently hitting .348 with 25 RBI while stalking six bases in ten attempts. Yarbrough is second on the squad with a .347 average with four homers and 24 RBI. Matt Smith is the team’s top power threat with six homers on the year to go with a .308 batting average.

Matt Crouse will get the ball to start the series against the Auburn Tigers as he has one of the best ERA in the tough SEC at 2.79 while being 6-2 in nine starts. David Goforth will go on Friday with a 2-5 record with a 4.37 ERA in 55.2 innings. Austin Wright will pitch on Saturday as he is 4-3 with a 3.99 ERA in 49.2 innings pitched. Jake Morgan has been fantastic at the backend of games with a 2-0 record including six saves while not giving an earned run in 18 innings.

Probable Starting Pitchers

Thursday: Ole Miss Jr. LHP Matt Crouse (6-2, 2.79) vs. Auburn Jr. RHP Derek Varnadore (4-1, 3.75)
Friday: Ole Miss Jr. RHP David Goforth (2-5, 4.37) vs. Auburn TBA
Saturday: Ole Miss Jr. LHP Austin Wright (4-3, 3.99) vs. Auburn Jr. LHP Cory Luckie (1-1, 4.60)

Prediction: Ole Miss 2-1

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