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Auburn ace who leads SEC scratched from Arkansas start

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Photographs by Auburn Athletics

Auburn sophomore right-hander Casey Mize leads the SEC in wins, ERA and strikeouts.

— The No. 14 Arkansas Razorbacks won't face Auburn pitching ace Casey Mize on Friday when they open a three-game series at Plainsman Park in Auburn, Ala., and may not see the sophomore right-hander at all this weekend.

Mize (6-1, 1.23 ERA) is doubtful for the series because of arm soreness, Auburn Coach Butch Thompson told Auburn247sports.com, after he pitched six scoreless innings in the Tigers' 3-2 victory at Tennessee last Thursday night.

Mize leads the SEC in ERA and strikeouts (82), and is tied for the league lead in wins.

Junior right-hander Keegan Thompson (4-1, 1.29) will start Friday for Auburn, with freshman right-hander Davis Daniel (3-2, 4.00) starting Saturday.

No. 12 Auburn (28-11, 10-5 SEC) hasn't named a starting pitcher for Sunday. Thompson didn't rule out Mize pitching against Arkansas, but told Auburn247sports.com he didn't expect it.

Mize hasn't pitched in practice, Thompson said, since his start at Tennessee.

"I don't think he would be full-speed missing these days of throwing," Thompson said of holding out Mize. "We are trying to do the right thing for our players all the time. Our players are competing so hard. I'm going to make sure before I put them back out there … I think it's the right play, the safest play for this young man."

Thompson said Mize doesn't have a long-term injury, but that he wants to see how Mize is feeling next week.

Thompson told WholeHogSports that he’s likely to give pitchers rest when he feels they need it, even in the middle of the SEC title race.

“I think we’ll do that more than some other teams,” he said. “This is a marathon, not a sprint. Our job is to try to keep our team at full strength and win every weekend, but at the same time keep our team as healthy as we can.

“The starting rotation, those three guys are paramount to our team having success. We’re looking at them every week and trying to make decisions for them to stay strong for an entire season.”

Prior to learning of the injury, Arkansas coach Dave Van Horn spoke highly of Mize's abilities.

"Mize is kind of special and probably will pitch in the big leagues one day," Van Horn said.

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