To preview this weekend's Auburn Classic between the BC, Auburn, Florida Atlantic and Missouri baseball programs, we exchanged Q&A with Kevin Ives over at Plainsman Parking Lot. Plainsman Parking Lot is a blog dedicated to Auburn baseball.
In exchange, we answered a few questions about BC and baseball over at Kevin's site.
BC Interruption: Where is Auburn baseball in the AU athletic program pecking order in terms of fan interest and support? Clearly baseball is below football but is it above basketball?
Plainsman Parking Lot: I'd say it is. However, the relation is all relative. For most Auburn fans Basketball and Baseball are 2a and 2b. Baseball has had more success historically and has a stronger following. Plus, you can actually see some progression for Auburn baseball, instead of the puzzling regression of Auburn baseball. Being outside and in the good weather means more fans are more likely to take in a weekend game a Plainsman Park, then a game in that cavern of doom we call a basketball arena. At least the administration is making an effort with basketball with the addition of a new arena.
BCI: Auburn hasn’t made the NCAAs in four consecutive seasons now. How disappointing was it not making the 64-team field last season? What is a realistic goal for Auburn baseball team this season?
PPL: Not as disappointing as missing out on the SEC tournament for 6 straight seasons. If we can be one of the top 8 teams in our league then we have serious problems. This year, the streak has to end. We have to make it to Hoover (site of the SEC tourney). The fans know it, the players know it, everyone knows it. We've got the talent, we just have some question marks in the pitching department and suddenly have a serious case of the yips in the field.
BCI: How about a scouting report on Auburn’s probable starter against BC on Friday?
PPL: If the rotation holds like it did last weekend, then you'll probably face Jon Luke Jacobs. Jacobs is a 6'0" sophomore. He had a rough go last weekend (4.2 IP, 6 R, 4 ER, 4 K, 3 BB). He's Auburn's biggest strikeout threat and uses a ton of off-speed stuff to keep hitter off balance. Jacobs started last Friday, but I wouldn't be surprised if Coach John Palowski puts a left-hander on the mound this weekend to try to negate two of BC's big guns (Wiswall and Anston).
BCI: Which Tigers will provide most of the offensive firepower this weekend?
PPL: Two guys to look for would be Hunter Morris and Creede Simpson. Simpson has been a bit of a surprise. A JUCO hometown guy who's become one of our most clutch hitters in just 3 games (he hit the game winner Saturday). Morris probably has the most preseason hype going into the year. Huge kid with a power swing and definite major league potential.
BCI: What can you tell us about the other teams BC will face in the Auburn Classic - Florida Atlantic and Missouri.
PPL: Mizzou is rebuilding and lost the majority of their team that went to the NCAAs last year. They have serious questions all across the board, some problems in their bullpen, and are still fighting position battles. FAU is historically good, but is in a bit of down year. They did win their opening series against Cincinnati, but I don't think you can judge them based on that performance. Outside of St. John's, Louisville, and West Virginia, I can't think of many other good Big East Baseball teams. They'll still be tough and BC should get used to playing the Owls because they'll face them 3 more times in a couple of weeks (which I find kind of odd).
BCI: Last one. Prediction time. Who do you have winning Friday’s game between the Eagles and Tigers? What’s the final score?
PPL: Of all the games this weekend, the BC game worries me the most. Pat Dean (BC's probable starter) is a stud and is coming off a great start last weekend. Plus Auburn's injury situation, bullpen questions and fielding concerns have me giving the Eagles the edge. Final Score? 6-4 BC. Maybe. I hate picking against Auburn but the Tigers can't be favored going into the game. I can tell you this. If Auburn does beat BC then it will be a great momentum win for the team.
BCI: Thanks for joining us.
For more information on Auburn baseball, be sure to check out Plainsman Parking Lot.