Auburn defeated Kentucky to advance to the double elimination portion of the SEC tournament and gets LSU as a reward. While it would have been nice to get some revenge for our only series loss of the year, LSU will have to settle for beating up on Auburn again.
Auburn is starting right handed pitcher Rocky McCord. McCord is 5-4 on the season, has a 3.65 ERA, and has pitched 79.0 innings total. Opponents are hitting 0.268 against him, and he has a K/BB ration of 62/39. In his first start against LSU on April 12, McCord only lasted two innings against LSU, giving up six runs on six hits. LSU won that game 6-2.
LSU will counter with Jared Poche. Poche had a rocky outing last Thursday against South Carolina. He cruised through five innings, only giving up two runs. Then the wheels came off in the sixth inning where he gave up four hits, one of them a two run homer, and four runs to tie the game. Hopefully he can bounce back from that and be his ole reliable self. Poche pitched very well against Auburn back in April. He went 5.2 innings and only gave up two runs. He was pulled a bit early because LSU was in a tight game and didn't want to blow the lead. It's funny how that works sometimes.
The big bat at the plate for Auburn is Anfernee Grier. Grier put on an absolute clinic in his first two games at the Box in April, going 5/9 with three doubles and a triple. He leads the Auburn lineup with a 0.339 batting average, and is one of only two regular starters for Auburn with a batting average over 0.300. It'll be imperative for LSU to keep him off the base paths as much as possible.
Given how well our lineup has performed to close out the regular season, it'll be tough for Auburn to cobble together enough pitching to completely shut down LSU. I think the lineup chases McCord early, and puts up enough runs early to allow Poche to get comfortable and throw strikes. I don't think Auburn can produce enough runs to keep pace with LSU. LSU should win this pretty comfortably and further cement themselves as the #1 national seed, but it is baseball so anything can happen.
This will be the first game of the Afternoon session today, scheduled for a 4:30 central start.