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Auburn Tigers look to bounce back against No. 1 Arkansas Razorbacks at Plainsmen Park

This week the No. 23 Auburn Tigers (14-6, 0-3), take on the current No. 1 team in the country Arkansas Razorbacks (17-2, 3-0), inside Plainsmen Park for their SEC home opener. 

“This is a call to arms to step up to the plate, and this Arkansas team is good,” Auburn head coach Butch Thomson said. “You can’t duck and dive, and you have to go right through them to get success.”

The Razorbacks are currently on a 13-game winning streak, in which they recently swept the Missouri Tigers 3-0 in their SEC home opener, and they look to go on a 9-0 winning streak against the Tigers of the SEC, facing Auburn this weekend and LSU the following. 

However, Auburn is looking to end the Razorback’s winning streak and break their losing streak as well. Auburn has lost five in a row to Arkansas with their last win happening just under two years ago (May 7, 2022) defeating the Tigers 5-3. 

This series does look to be a challenge for the Tigers though, as they have been having struggles recently in all aspects of the game, and Arkansas is on top of the college baseball world, and the SEC West. 

One such problem that Auburn has been having recently is with their pitching, as Butch Thomson said, “The pitching that we pitched in Nashville will not work in this league.”

With Auburn’s pitching not being at its best in the Vanderbilt series, there is another shift in the starting lineup for this Arkansas series. 

On the pitching lineup for this week's series, righthanded Connor McBride will claim the Thursday start after missing the past few games, Chase Allsup will remain in his normal Friday starting slot, and the final starting slot will be with redshirt Junior Joseph Gonzalez. 

This starting pitcher lineup can propel Auburn to success, however, Thomson noted how in recent games the righthanded hitters have not been doing well, which is impacting Auburn’s at-bat performance.

This is especially evident when looking at Auburn’s most recent games where they have an average of over four runs per game, compared to Arkansas’s nine runs per game, and for the Tigers to get runs. Getting hits will be crucial, which they have not been accomplishing in recent games.  

Arkansas is just one of many great teams in the SEC, and for the Tigers to make it through this five-series stretch of tough SEC games, and the rest of the SEC season, they are going to need to step up to the plate and get the job done. 

“I want us to rise to the challenge,” Thomson said, and with the No. 1 Arkansas Razorbacks arriving in Plainsmen Park, the Auburn Tigers better be ready to rise to the occasion. 

The first pitch for the Auburn-Arkansas series is set to be at 6 pm CT on both Thursday and Friday and at 2 p.m. CT on Saturday. Coverage for all three games can be found on Auburn Sports Network and SEC Network+ for Friday and Saturday's matchup. Thursday's game can be found on the SEC Network. 

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