Trojans get set for Wednesday battle with No. 20 Auburn

Published 10:14 am Tuesday, March 12, 2024

Getting your Trinity Audio player ready...

Coming off this past weekend’s series win over the Big 10’s Indiana, the Troy Trojans (12-5) travel to Madison for a neutral site showdown with the No. 20-ranked Auburn Tigers (12-3).

Troy and Auburn will face off against one another at Toyota Field, the home field of Minor League franchise the Rocket City Trash Pandas. Troy and Auburn last faced off last season, an 8-7 Troy win at Auburn. This will be Troy’s second matchup against a team ranked in the Top 25 in the country this month after facing No. 13 Alabama on March 6. Auburn was ranked No. 20 in this week’s National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association Poll.

Troy’s ace pitcher Garrett Gainous will get the start against Auburn and he comes into the contest 1-0 on the season as a starter. So far this season, Gainous holds a 1.69 ERA with eight strikeouts in five and 1/3 innings pitched. Troy boasts plenty of depth in the pitching department with Luke Lyon (0.82 ERA, 23 strikeouts), Noah Manning (1.23 ERA, nine strikeouts), Logan Ross (3.07 ERA, 11 strikeouts) and Clete Hartzog (2.18 ERA, 24 strikeouts ).

Troy native Drew Nelson is a pitcher at Auburn. (Photo courtesy of Auburn University Athletics)

Sign up for our daily email newsletter

Get the latest news sent to your inbox

On the other side, Conner McBride is expected to get the start for the Tigers coming into the game with a 2-0 record on the mound. He holds a 2.63 ERA with 13 strikeouts in 13 and 2/3 innings pitched. Auburn also features Troy native Drew Nelson on its pitching staff. Nelson was a star pitcher at Pike Liberal Arts, winning Gatorade Alabama Player of the Year as a senior. He comes into the game with just one appearance so far this season, striking out one batter and giving up no runs.

Troy’s bats have been on fire all season as Will Butcher comes into the game with a nation-leading 33 RBIs on the season, while Kole Myers’ 26 runs ranks seventh in the country and Ethan Kavanagh’s 28 hits is ninth in the country. Troy’s also hit 31 home runs so far this season with Myers totaling seven and Butcher with six so far. Last year’s SBC Player of the Year Shane Lewis also hit two homers against Indiana last weekend. Troy’s 160 runs is ranked 15th in the country.

Auburn’s Ike Irish has six homers on the season, while both Cooper McMurray and Deric Fabian have hit five each. McMurray boasts a .367 batting average with 21 RBIs.

Defensively, Troy’s Tremayne Cobb Jr. ranks third in the country among shortstops with 3.51 defensive runs saved. He boasts a .985 fielding percentage with 24 putouts, 40 assists and nine double plays. Meanwhile, at first base Will Butcher has a .977 fielding percentage with 119 putouts, seven assists and a team-high 10 double plays.

Troy and Auburn will play at 6 p.m. on March 12 in a game that will stream live on the Rocket City Trash Pandas’ YouTube page.