AUBURN, Ala. — Only one team sits above Auburn baseball in the SEC West standings. And they’re literally rolling onto the Plains this weekend.
Arkansas (30-8, 11-4 SEC) will visit Auburn for a three-game series beginning on Friday night (6 p.m. CT, SEC Network+). The Razorbacks have won 10 of their last 12 outings, most recently sweeping Georgia and Memphis.
Auburn has some momentum of its own, too. Butch Thompson’s team earned a series win in Knoxville, Tenn., last weekend largely thanks to ace Casey Mize. Still, some changes — are in store for the Tigers this weekend even as the stakes are higher.
Here’s what you need to know about this weekend’s series in Auburn:
Game 1: Friday, April 21, 6 p.m. CT/7 p.m. ET, SEC Network+ or watch online here
Game 2: Saturday, April 22, 1 p.m. CT/2 p.m. ET, SEC Network+ or watch online here
Game 3: Sunday, April 23, 3 p.m. CT/4 p.m. ET, SEC Network or watch online here
Location: Plainsman Park, Auburn, Ala.
SEC Network+ is streaming Game 1 and Game 2. SEC Network is televising Game 3 on Sunday afternoon.
Watch the game online through SEC Network at WatchESPN on Thurday and on SEC Network+ on Saturday.
You can follow the game on the Auburn Radio Network.
Missing Mize, Keegan on the mound
Head coach Butch Thompson is making a lineup change heading into this weekend’s crucial three-game stretch. Casey Mize, who’s been starting for Auburn on Friday nights, will likely sit through the series. Thompson said it’s likely the right-handed pitcher will miss the entire weekend due to some soreness and general fatigue.
Mize has established himself as one of the best pitchers not only in the SEC, but in the conference. He tops the league with an ERA of 1.23 and ranks third nationally with 82 strikeouts.
Thompson admitted he’s probably being “overcautious” but feels confident in his strategy. The head coach approached a week-long stretch similarly with Keegan Thompson earlier this year.
“Whenever we send a guy up to the mound, we want him to attack with everything he’s got,” Butch Thompson said. “He’s done so much work for us that I think we’ll take our time and make sure, instead of me saying push through and stay on track, let’s take our time and make sure that he’s good, so we’ll take another week and we’ll see.”
Fortunately Auburn’s replacement is Keegan Thompson, who’s also proven himself as one of the best aces in the nation (1.29 ERA).
This is definitely not an ideal weekend for Mize to be in the dugout. As a team, Arkansas has drilled 53 homers (they’ve got 5 players who’ve hit 6 or more) so far this year.
Jay Biggers boasts a .355 average but Chad Spanberger and Grant Koch are tied for the team lead with 9 home runs.
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