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Plainslinks buys peanuts and Cracker Jack

Brian Fletcher, doin' it and doin' it and doin' it well.*

Besuboru! Soooooooo much Auburn baseball content out there this week? Who’d have ever thought that the doldrums of May on the football front combined with a nationally-ranked, red-hot baseball team would lead to baseball grabbing the spotlight? (Everyone, right.) On with it:

— Rivals caught up with John Pawlowski for a Q&A. It’s mostly standard-issue coachspeak, but I thought this was interesting:

Q: From a pitching standpoint, the staff has an ERA of 4.84. Who are some guys that you could see rising to the occasion down the stretch?

A: I’m not sure much is going to change from a pitching standpoint. We’ve been successful with what we’ve been doing the past few weeks. Cory Luckie and Grant Dayton have done a really good job as of late. After that, though, it has pretty much been a revolving door with the rest of our pitching staff. There are plenty of teams out there that have a set rotation of 1-2-3, but we’re doing things a little different. We’re playing the matchup game each weekend, trying to figure out which pitcher matches up best with the opposing team’s lineup on a given day. I think we have some guys that know how to pitch. Now, we’re not going to light up very many radar guns, but we have guys that take pride in the roles they have. Our whole team is playing with a chip on their shoulder, so that is now the trademark of this team and the pitching staff. Our guys know what they have to do.

So, yeah, feel free to take your best guess at who the Saturday starter’s going to be. Only Pawlowski knows for sure.

Also interesting: Pawlowski doesn’t think the league-determined 108 seconds between innings at the SEC tourney is enough time, and he believes South Carolina and Arizona St. are the two best teams Auburn’s faced. (That’s not exactly surprising, per se, but still interesting.)

— Auburn’s recent success has pushed them into the top 15 of the RPI and has them a cushier draw in the most recent NCAA Regional projections. With Miss. St. and Tennessee up the next two weekends, that should only improve.

— Speaking of the Bulldogs, PPL’s Kevin has his usual pair of previews up, with the weekly 5P Primer at his place and a second, big-picture look at Track ‘Em. Auburn needs at least one sweep out of this series and next weekend’s Tennessee tilt to stay in contention for a home Regional and SEC West berth; better to go ahead and get it out of the way now.

That said, any baseball team that comes in having lost eight in a row strikes me as one that might be due for a close win, and as we learned here Wednesday, State’s not quite as bad as their record. They took a game off of South Carolina; they can certainly take one at Plainsman Park if Auburn’s not careful.

— More PPL: a nice roundup of Auburn-related links and stories, and a tribute to unsung catcher Ryan Jenkins, whose play has been critical in salvaging the Kentucky series and nabbing the two big wins in Fayetteville.

— Trent Mummey won this week’s SEC Player of the Week Award, thanks to being more awesome than you.

Officially official. Luke Cothron has signed his Auburn LOI. Barbee sounds pretty happy about it:

“Luke gives us a different level of talent,” said Barbee. “He is an immediate difference-maker for us along the frontline. He is a guy who has the ability to score the ball in a variety of ways inside and outside. He has a knack for being around the ball which makes him a great rebounder.

This is probably why:

Cothron totaled 27 points, 12 rebounds and four blocks for Flora Macdonald in a 73-66 win over West Charlotte this past season. Possessing a 31-inch vertical jump, he notched 27 points and 11 rebounds and went 3-of-6 from 3-point range in a 96-84 victory over Forsyth Country Day.

He totaled 43 points and 17 rebounds in a 95-73 win over Quality Education Academy as a junior and then had 41 points and 19 rebounds against Word of God Christian Academy and former Kentucky All-American John Wall. Cothron helped the Cougars to a 22-10 record and the state playoffs in 2008-09.

Please qualify. Please please please.

Positioned for greatness? Andy Bitter’s post-spring position-by-position roster breakdown concluded today with a look at the quarterbacks, but it’s worth clicking through to the rest of the series.

Unless, of course, you’re in a hurry and want a Cliffs Notes version, in which case Acid Reign’s got essentially the same thing ready in one handy post. He’s of the opinion that the 2010 offense could challenge Auburn’s all-time scoring records … and crazy Kool-Aid drinker I am, I tend to agree.

In other football news, Auburn had the nation’s fourth-largest spring game crowd. I think Auburn may have exaggerated the attendance numbers just a bit, but since I think everyone else did too, fourth sounds good.

TWER. If you’ve missed it, Jeremy’s killed it this week: recollections of the longest home run ever hit at Georgia’s Foley Field, by that Bo guy, a photo album of vintage Auburn matchbooks (check the basketball one), a preview of the Blue Mountain show, and, well, what else is there to say about this other than HOTT.

Etc. Likely future Auburn commit Erique Florence will be attending the Under Armour All-American game … if anyone wants to know why Auburn fans get along 10 times better with your average Dawg fan than your average Tide fan, just ask them to compare and contrast this with this … the Auburn women’s golf team appears to have righted the ship at NCAA Regionals … I’ve long been of the opinion that whoever wanted to throw away money on a bowl (and give me something to watch in mid-December) should be allowed to do it, but I’ll agree that it shouldn’t come at the costs of hundred of thousands of dollars for already-struggling bottom-feeder programs. Reform is needed.

Enjoy your weekend.

*It’s the timeliness of the references that make this blog great, I know. Photo by Leffie Dailey.

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