Jags close out 4 game road swing at #19 Auburn
Probable Starting Pitchers
Tue., May 8
USA - RHP Will Eiland (1-0, 3.38 ERA)
AU - LHP Jack Owen (2-2, 7.54 ERA)
South Alabama holds a 50-25 all-time lead over Auburn in a series that began in 1968. The Tigers snapped a three-game losing skid to the Jags with their 7-6 win earlier this season at Stanky Field. USA has won the last two meetings at Auburn after a 14-3 win last year, and an 8-5 victory in 2016.
Auburn, ranked No. 18 at the time, faced a one-run deficit after seven frames, but rallied for four runs in the top-half of the eighth for the eventual game-winning runs in this season's previous meeting at Stanky Field. The Tigers held a 3-0 lead through four-and-a-half innings before the Jaguars responded for four runs in the bottom of the fifth, highlighted by a two-run single by Michael Sandle and an RBI single from Wells Davis. Auburn responded with the game's deciding runs in the top of the eighth on an RBI single by Brett Wright and a three-run home run from Luke Jarvis. Official attendance for the game was 4,508, which broke the Stanky Field single-game attendance record.
•South Alabama went 1-2 last week after dropping two of three Sun Belt Conference games at Little Rock. The Trojans took the series opener 13-9 before the Jaguars evened the series with a 10-7 win in game two. Little Rock clinched the series with a 7-4 win in Sunday's rubber match. USA batted .257 with five doubles, one triple, five home runs, 22 RBIs and 23 runs scored in the series, led by second baseman Hunter Stokes who finished the weekend with a .300 batting average while also hitting his first home run of the season. Center fielder Travis Swaggerty homered twice in Sunday's series finale, while catcher Carter Perkins hit his second home run of the series and eighth of the year in the series finale. The Jaguar pitching staff posted a 9.00 ERA in three games, and recorded 24 strikeouts against 16 walks in 25 innings pitched.
• The Jaguars have played eight nationally-ranked opponents this season. USA is 3-10 against top-25 competition, with wins over No. 18 Oklahoma, No. 18 Coastal Carolina and No. 13 Southern Miss, and losses to No. 3 Texas Tech, No. 15 Southern Miss, No. 16 LSU, No. 18 Auburn and No. 23 Indiana.
• South Alabama ranks sixth nationally in walks (267), which ranks second in the Sun Belt Conference behind Coastal Carolina (280).
• The Jags rank second in the SBC and 23rd nationally in fielding percentage (.978).
ROAD STRUGGLES OF LATE
The Jags enter Tuesday's game having dropped four of their last five road games, dating back to the April 22 series finale at Texas State. USA snapped a three-game losing skid with a 10-7 win in game two of last weekend's series at Little Rock.
USA enters the game with 118 two-out RBIs, which accounts for 42 percent of its 282 RBIs this season. Michael Sandle and Travis Swaggerty share the team lead with 17 two-RBIs apiece.
JAGS DRAW SEASON-HIGH IN WALKS
South Alabama batters drew a season-high 17 walks in Saturday's 10-7 win over Little Rock, falling one walk shy of tying the program's single-game record for walks which came on April 8, 1979, against Alabama.
DAVIS ECLIPSES 100 HITS, RBIS
First baseman Wells Davis recorded his 100th career hit and RBI last weekend at Little Rock. Davis eclipsed the century mark for each category on a two-run triple, the first of his career, in game two of the series.
SWAGGERTY EXTENDS ON-BASE STREAK
Center fielder Travis Swaggerty carries a team-best 27-game on-base streak into the game. He went hitless in the series opener at Little Rock last weekend, but reached on a hit by pitch to extend his streak.
PERKINS' LAST DOZEN GAMES
Jaguar catcher Carter Perkins is batting .400 with three doubles, six home runs, 19 RBIs and 18 runs scored, while drawing 10 walks and posting a .509 OBP and .867 slugging percentage in his last 12 games, dating back to the series finale against Georgia Southern on April 15. Perkins has hit safely in nine of 12 contests and driven in at least one run in all but two games in that span.
JAGS IN APRIL
South Alabama batted .282 with 22 doubles, three triples, 21 home runs, 110 RBIs and 120 runs scored in 15 games in April. Three Jaguars batted over .300 in the month: Carter Perkins (.389), Brendan Donovan (.383) and Travis Swaggerty (.322). The Jaguar pitching staff posted a 5.81 team ERA with 129 strikeouts against 65 walks in 127 innings pitched.
EILAND SCHEDULED FOR FIRST START OF SEASON
Senior right-hander and Auburn, Ala., native Will Eiland is scheduled to make his first start of the season Tuesday. It will also mark just his second career start in what will become his 19th career appearance. He made his first career start on Feb. 19 last season against Eastern Illinois, and allowed one run on one hit with one strikeout against two walks in three innings pitched.
HOMERS AS OF LATE
South Alabama has homered eight times in its last five games, having hit multiple home runs in three of five contests in that span. Travis Swaggerty homered twice in Sunday's series finale at Little Rock, and Carter Perkins added on home run.
HARDY AMONG SBC LEADERS IN HITS, STOLEN BASES
Left fielder Dylan Hardy enters the week tied for third in the Sun Belt Conference in hits (61), seventh in runs scored (45) and tied for sixth in stolen bases (16). Hardy snapped a 16-game stolen-base drought with a steal in Sunday's series finale at Little Rock.
SWAGGERTY IN TOP 10 NATIONALLY IN TWO OFFENSIVE CATEGORIES
Center fielder Travis Swaggerty ranks sixth nationally in walks per game (1.00) and ninth in walks per game (45). He currently ranks fourth in career walks (136) at South Alabama after passing former Jaguar Tyrone Dixon (130) in an April 18 win at New Orleans.
SWAGGERTY LEADS SBC
Swaggerty enters Tuesday's game as the SBC leader in OBP (.466), ranks second in home runs (13), fourth in slugging percentage (.584) and tied for fifth in runs scored (46).
DONOVAN AMONG SBC LEADERS IN SACRIFICE FLIES, RBIs
Third baseman Brendan Donovan ranks second in the Sun Belt Conference in sacrifice flies (6), and fifth in RBIs (42).
DAVIS AMONG LEAGUE LEADERS IN RBIs, WALKS
First baseman Wells Davis ranks third in the SBC in walks (41) and fourth in RBIs (45). Davis ranks 12th nationally in walks, and 14th in walks per game (0.93).
JAGS AT NIGHT/DAY
South Alabama enters the week 16-8 in day games, and 9-9 in night games this season following Tuesday's loss at No. 15 Southern Miss. The Jags have dropped three straight night games entering Friday's series opener.
OFFENSIVE RUNS / HITS PER GAME
South Alabama is averaging six runs scored and eight hits per game through 45 contests, but is also averaging over eight strikeouts per game against five walks per contest. The Jags have struck out 10 or more times in 16 games this season.
ALLOWING FIVE OR LESS
South Alabama is 18-4 this season when allowing five or fewer runs, but is 8-15 when allowing six or more. The Jags have allowed five or more runs in six straight games entering their matchup at Auburn, and are 2-4 over that span.
SCORING SIX OR MORE
The Jags are 23-5 when scoring six or more runs this year, but are 3-14 when scoring fewer than six runs.
USA is 20-6 this season when scoring the game's first run, but is 6-13 when the opposition scores first.
South Alabama is outscoring the opposition 58-18 in the first inning this season; however, it has allowed 49 runs in the second inning of games this year.
MORE HITS, MORE WINS
The Jaguars are 20-2 when out-hitting the opposition this season, but are 6-14 when getting out-hit by opponents. USA is 0-3 when its hit total is tied with the opposition.
JAGS SWEEP SBC WEEKLY AWARDS
South Alabama right-hander Tyler Carr was named the SBC Pitcher of the Week and Carter Perkins was named the SBC Player of the Week on Tue., April 24. Carr tossed his first career complete game, and carried a no-hitter into the ninth inning of the series opener at Texas State on April 20, which was broken up on a 1-2 pitch with two outs in the bottom of the ninth. He retired 22 of the first 24 Bobcat batters he faced in the game. Perkins batted .625 (10-for-16) with three doubles, three home runs, eight RBIs, seven runs scored, a .684 OBP and 1.375 slugging percentage in four games. He recorded multiple hits in three of four contests, and drove in at least one run in three of four games. Perkins finished with a career-high four hits, including a double and a pair of home runs, and tied his career high in RBIs (4) in an April 18 win at New Orleans. He went 2-for-4 with a double, one RBI and two runs scored in the series opener at Texas State, and followed that performance by going 4-for-4 with a double, one home run, three RBIs and two runs scored in game two of the series. It marked the first time either Carr or Perkins has earned weekly SBC honors.
CALVI NAMED AlaBCA COACH OF THE YEAR
Head coach Mark Calvi was named the Alabama Baseball Coaches Association Division I Coach of the Year in 2017, marking the third consecutive year he has earned the honor, after leading the Jaguars to 40 wins and an NCAA Hattiesburg (Miss.) Regional appearance.
JAG OFFENSE IN 2017
USA broke the program record for walks (373) in a season last year, which ranked second nationally. The Jags ranked sixth in the country in runs scored (488) and on-base percentage (.415), seventh in runs per game (8.0), 11th in fielding percentage (.980), 14th in sacrifice flies (32) and home runs (78), and 15th in slugging percentage (.480).
JAGS SET PROGRAM SINGLE-SEASON FIELDING PERCENTAGE IN '17
South Alabama set a program record for single-season fielding percentage (.980) last year, which led the Sun Belt Conference and ranked 11th nationally.
2017 HOME RUN PRODUCTION
The Jaguars hit 78 home runs in 2017, the most since the 2008 squad hit 79 home runs; however, USA lost 26 percent of its home run production from last season following the departure of Eddie Paparella and Jared Barnes. Paparella homered seven times last year while Barnes, who was an eighth-round selection by the Miami Marlins in the 2017 Major League Baseball Draft, hit 13 as a junior.
JAGS PICKED TO WIN SBC EAST DIVISION
South Alabama was picked to win the 2018 Sun Belt Conference East Division by the league's head coaches after receiving all 12 first-place votes.