June 24, 2024

Auburn kicks off a series of eight consecutive home games as they welcome the No. 4 Tennessee Vols (24-5, 5-4) to Plainsman Park for a three-game series starting Friday night at 6 p.m. With a current record of 17-11 overall and 1-8 in SEC play, coach Butch Thompson’s Tigers are aiming to capitalize on two consecutive conference series at home to gain ground in the Southeastern Conference.

“We’re looking forward to A-Day weekend, with plenty of activities happening around campus,” remarked head coach Butch Thompson. “After being on the road for two of the first three weeks, it’s great to be back home this weekend and next week. We’re aiming to maximize our opportunities to compete and work our way back into contention in the league.

The Auburn University Tigers football game against the UMass Minutemen

“Our recent SEC home game against Arkansas was quite memorable. With so much happening on campus and many people converging on Auburn for A-Day, I anticipate Plainsman Park will be buzzing with excitement this weekend.”

**Probable Starters and Game Times:**

– Friday, 6 p.m., SEC Network+: Sophomore RHP Dylan Watts (0-0, 2.77) vs. Junior RHP AJ Causey (5-1, 3.53)

– Saturday, 3:30 p.m., SEC Network+: To be announced vs. Junior RHP Drew Beam (3-1, 4.06)

– Sunday, 1 p.m., SEC Network+: To be announced vs. To be announced

**Bash Brothers:**

Despite facing some batting struggles elsewhere in the lineup, Auburn’s catcher Ike Irish and first baseman Cooper McMurray have consistently posed threats for the Tigers this season. Together, they’ve driven in 87 runs across 28 games, marking one of the highest combined RBI tallies in the nation. Currently, McMurray leads the team in batting average at .371, boasting 11 home runs and eight doubles, while Irish follows closely behind at .363 with 10 home runs and nine doubles.

Over the last six games, this dynamic duo has been particularly formidable, hitting .500 (24-for-48) with 17 runs, seven homers, and 30 RBI. They currently rank first or second on the team in average, home runs, doubles, hits, slugging percentage, and runs batted in.

**Freshmen Making an Impact:**

While they may not be regular starters for the Tigers just yet, outfielder Cade Belyeue and third baseman Eric Guevara are two freshmen who are expected to see increased action for Auburn as the 2024 season progresses. Belyeue, a standout from Auburn High, has showcased his skills since the fall and has continued to impress in limited appearances this season, currently batting .313 with a home run and three doubles in just 16 total at-bats. Guevara, originally from Panama, is returning from a fall knee injury that required surgery. He made his first start on Wednesday night against UAB and could see his role expand as he gains strength.

**Scouting the Volunteers:**

Tennessee heads into the weekend series with an impressive 24-5 overall record and a 5-4 mark in SEC play. They’ve recently secured consecutive series victories against Ole Miss and Georgia. Offensively, the Volunteers lead the SEC and rank sixth nationally with a .332 team batting average. Leading the charge is Kavares Tears, boasting an outstanding .413 batting average. Blake Burke stands out as well, ranking second in the nation with 16 doubles and contributing to the team’s power with 10 home runs alongside three other Volunteers.

On the pitching front, Tennessee’s staff holds a respectable 3.73 ERA, placing them fifth in the league and 12th nationally. They’ve amassed a total of 262 strikeouts while issuing 90 walks across 241.0 innings pitched, showcasing both efficiency and effectiveness on the mound.

In loss to No. 1 Georgia, did the Auburn Tigers find a recruiting win?

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