Posted: 12:08 p.m. Tuesday, March 5, 2013
Three weeks of Auburn baseball are in the books, and we finally have a nice baseline to compare to for the rest of the year.
For those following along, here's my workbook updated so far:
This does include the Tuesday game against Kennesaw State, which is weighing some of the overall numbers down. Jordan Ebert, Cullen Wacker and Garrett Cooper all showed big improvements from last weekend, with Cooper showing the biggest jump in average (up .143). His eight hits over the four game series against Eastern Illinois led the team, as did his 12 total bases. Wacker continues to rake, and his slugging percentage jumped almost two percentage points.
As a team, Auburn improved slightly and finally got its team average back around the .300 mark. Some of that could be the extra game, but it's more related to the total output and Auburn scoring at least eight runs in three straight contests over the weekend.
Fielding continues to be an issue for the Tigers: five errors from the field (this doesn't include errors from pitchers) and Cooper being tagged with two by himself. We have seen slight increases by some of the field, and even though Dan Glevenyak committed another error against EIU to bring his team lead to five, he improved his field percentage slightly (up .017). Yak did have a couple of good games.
Ebert was an absolute beast these past four game, hitting a solid .600 and being a sparkplug at the bottom of the lineup. However, the real story at the plate was Cooper. He really broke through and hit .615 for the series with a slugging percentage of .923 and an OBP of .706. Outstanding numbers.
While the hitting seemed to wake up, the pitching regressed for Auburn.
Rocky McCord was the lone bright spot against EIU and really bounced back nicely from a rough start last Sunday. He shaved his ERA almost in half (down 4.90) and pitched a season-high six innings.
The Tigers' pitchers aren't getting any help in the field, as Auburn has allowed 14 unearned runs so far on the year. That's hard to overcome, yet Auburn still has a winning record. Over the four game set against the Panthers, Auburn surrendered 27 runs, almost double what they had done over the previous two weeks.
The real difference for Auburn this past weekend? Walks. The Tigers gave up 20 free passes after allowing on 14 in the previous two weeks.
At least for Auburn, the problems are evident and can be corrected. Walks and errors, two problems that plagued the Tigers all of last season, came back to bite in a big way.