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Auburn baseball announces starter for regional matchup versus Coastal Carolina

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AUBURN, Ala. – Auburn head coach Butch Thompson announced left-handed pitcher Jack Owen would get the start for the Tigers against Coastal Carolina in the opening game of the Atlanta Regional on Friday.

Tanner Burns, the typical Friday starter, will get the ball in game two regardless of Auburn’s opponent.

“We think Jack’s the best matchup,” Thompson said. “We had a great bullpen, probably better than the week leading up to Tanner after missing his start, so we feel excited about Tanner being able to go game two. He’ll be the game two starter regardless of who we play.”

Thompson said Coastal Carolina is a left-hand oriented team. He will be looking to match up against the different left-handers in the lineup and combat aggressive base running

“A very left-handed oriented Coastal Carolina team,” Thompson said. “Not just their lineup but also their pitching staff as well, so we will see a ton of lefties. Historically maybe having a lefty on the mound, in this case, not just hitters but also the running game. Coach Gilmore is known as a base-running guy and pressure. They do a great job with that.”

Coastal Carolina ranks second in the Sun Belt with 78 stolen bases on the year. The Chanticleers don’t have a lack of base runners either as their on-base percentage ranks first in their conference at .418.

Nonetheless, Owen said he prefers to prepare for teams that he hasn’t faced before.

“I like it better because their is no script of what I am about to do,” Owen said. “I know a lot of hitters in this league, you’ve got certain guys that like to do certain things from an offensive standpoint, and they know they like to do that too. Sometimes, it’s like a game of chess. Playing into their hand or am I playing into my hand.”

“Whereas, right now, I know what my strength is. I don’t know what each individual hitter’s strength is, and I don’t really care because I can pitch off of my strengths. If they know my strengths, great. If I’m doing it properly, it doesn’t matter.”

In his last start against LSU in the SEC Tournament, Owen allowed one run in 5.2 innings pitched. Owen said the start was the best he had felt since before his injury in the middle of the SEC schedule.

“I’m going to try to carry that in,” Owen said. “It doesn’t have to be perfect. It doesn’t have to be a perfect game by any means, but, if I can give my team a chance to win, then that’s all I’m really concerned about.”

Owen is 4-2 with a team-high 2.29 ERA. He will be faced with a hot Coastal Carolina lineup that scored 80 runs across six games, including a 26-run game, en route to winning the Sun Belt Championship.


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