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Schoening Loses Battle With Leukemia

I knew when I wrote Friday's article that things didn't look good for former Auburn pitcher Brent Schoening. I learned a few minutes ago that he passed away today at the age of 31. Here's the story from Andy Bitter at The Columbus Ledger-Enquirer...

Brent Schoening, a former Columbus High and Auburn University pitcher, died Sunday after a prolonged battle with leukemia. He was 31.

"It was a terribly sad day for us," said former Auburn baseball coach Hal Baird. "We were all aware of the struggles and the ordeal that he was having, but still, his passing just leaves a great void in our lives and he was just a terrific young man as well as a great baseball player."

Schoening led Columbus High to three straight championships from 1994-96. He was selected by the Baltimore Orioles in the seventh round of the 1996 Major League Baseball draft but opted to go to Auburn.

In three years on the Plains, he went 29-9. As the staff ace in 1999, he went 13-1 with a 3.32 ERA. He ranks third on Auburn's all-time strikeouts list with 327 and fifth in wins. The Tigers won 142 total games from 1997-99, with one SEC tournament title, three NCAA tournament appearances and one trip to the College World Series.

"Baseball-wise, his numbers and his performances speak for themselves," Baird said. "But you go and look at those three years that he was at Auburn, and we won I think 50 games and 46 and 46, arguably three of the better seasons back-to-back-to-back that Auburn has ever had, and it was no coincidence that Brent was here in that time. Brent was a terrific competitor and very courageous and confident and everything you'd want in a No. 1 starter. He personified that and I think these recent struggles also reflected the courage with which he handled this ordeal, which was the toughest thing mortal man can face."

Schoening was drafted in fifth round of the 1999 MLB draft by the Minnesota Twins and spent seven years in the minors, reaching Class AAA before a shoulder injury forced him to retire.