The weather played havoc with the SEC baseball schedule over the weekend. For Auburn and Vanderbilt, a double-header was played on Thursday with the final game Saturday afternoon. The SEC Baseball standings were extremely close on either end of the spectrum, and Auburn came in to the series in a close race with Tennessee, Missouri, and Arkansas for the final spots in the SEC Tournament.
Unfortunately, Vanderbilt handled the Tigers fairly easily in the Thursday doubleheaders. The Commodores won Game 1 9-3 and Game 2 5-2. With those results and the rest of the results around the SEC, continuing the season for Auburn came down to one simple formula: win and in.
Anfernee Grier hit two deep blast home runs in Saturday's effort, but that just wasn't enough. Casey Mize threw 7 strikeouts, but a 3 run 4th inning was enough for the Commodores to take control. The Tigers had a chance at a late rally with the bases loaded in the 8th inning, but they were left stranded and the Commodores closed the game out 4-3.
With that, the 2016 campaign - Butch Thompson's first as Auburn's head coach - was over. The Tigers finished 23-33 overall and 8-22 in the SEC. That is obviously a record that the history of Auburn Baseball says shouldn't happen, but you have to take so much into account in terms of the adversity this team faced on and off the diamond before and during the season.
There will be a better post-mortem to come next week. For now, let's take the time to thank the seniors on this team who went through so much in their time with the Tigers. Three coaches, a turbulent offseason prior to their final campaign, and then dealing with injuries that hampered the team, this certainly wasn't how they wanted to go out. They still gave us some good times, and will always be Auburn Men.
Let's also thank Anfernee Grier, who will definitely go pro and be an early round draft pick in the Major League Baseball Draft. Grier was a joy to watch, making spectacular catches in center field, stealing bases, reaching base in almost every game this season, and also leading the team in home runs with 12. He's got every tool he needs and will do great things on the next level.
The baseball season is over. Now Butch Thompson gets to go to work with a full offseason, rather than just 2-3 months. I look forward to seeing what he can put on the field next season. War Eagle!