The long, cold offseason is over, and baseball season has returned. Well, maybe it's still cold in Auburn, but the Tigers are in sunny Port Charlotte, Fla., for the Snowbird Classic. In the first three games of the Sunny Golloway era, they'll take on Indiana State, Ohio State and UConn.
The Snowbird Classic
Friday vs. Indiana State, noon CT
Sr. RHP Dillon Ortman (last year: 2-1, 4.88 ERA) vs. Sr. RHP Kurt Kudrecki (1-1, 1.57)
Saturday vs. Ohio State, 11 a.m. CT
Sr. LHP Michael O'Neal (8-4, 2.73 ERA) vs. Jr. LHP Ryan Riga (3-0, 2.14 ERA)
Sunday vs. UConn, 10 a.m. CT
Fr. RHP Keegan Thompson (N/A) vs. Sr. LHP Brian Ward (2-3, 3.59 ERA)
The weather in Auburn and surrounding areas has been pretty cold and miserable lately, but our Tigers will get to enjoy spring-like conditions down on the Gulf Coast. Auburn should see perfect conditions for all three games this weekend.
Around the SEC
No. 2 LSU vs. New Orleans, Grambling
Hofstra at No. 4 Mississippi State
No. 8 Vanderbilt at Long Beach State
Bucknell at No. 14 South Carolina
Maryland at No. 20 Florida
Appalachian State at Arkansas
Georgia Southern at Georgia
Ole Miss at Stetson
Saint Louis at Alabama
Northeastern at Texas A&M
Kentucky at Hughes Bros. Classic (No. 6 Virginia, UNC-Wilmington, VMI)
Missouri at Best Bet Classic (Richmond, North Florida, Liberty)
Tennessee home tournament (Purdue, Nebraska-Omaha)
Rankings via USA Today Coaches' Poll
It's the opening weekend of the season, and the first three games of Golloway's tenure at Auburn. It's hard to know what should be expected against the Sycamores, Buckeyes and Huskies. And with Ryan Tella suspended, the Tigers will be without potentially their best hitter for the first two games. None of their opponents in the Snowbird Classic are world-beaters, but they aren't pushovers, either.
Indiana State compiled a 26-25 record in 2014, while Ohio State went 35-23 and UConn was 35-28. No
ne of the three Only the Huskies advanced to the NCAA Tournament last season, and they aren't expected to make it this year, either. There isn't a whole lot of top-end talent among the three teams, though the Buckeyes do sport on of the Big Ten's best pitching prospects in Josh Dezse. But, Auburn avoids the starter on Saturday.
An 0-3 trip would be really disappointing, but anything from 1-2 to 3-0 wouldn't be too much of a surprise since it's the first few games of the year and everyone is just settling in. But if Auburn is as good as we're hoping this year, good enough to make a regional, the Tigers should be able to win at least two based on talent alone.