Wow! Without Keegan Thompson, the Tigers were still able to pull out an amazing weekend series in Auburn against the Gamecocks. The crowds were huge and loud. The weather was perfect. And the Tigers delivered for their 3rd straight SEC series win. They are yet to drop a weekend series this year.
Game 1: 5-4 Auburn
Without normal Friday night starter Keegan Thompson, Saturday starter Casey Mize moved up a night. While he allowed 4 runs, he still pitched a masterful game with 12 strikeouts and he went the distance to close it out. Doing so allowed the Tigers to save much of the bullpen for Saturday and Sunday, which paid out huge dividends in the end.
At the plate, Auburn scored all of their runs in the 1st and 3rd inning. 2 came in the 1st thanks to an error on a Daniel Robert hit that ended up scoring Jay Estes and Jonah Todd - two stars of the weekend. In the 3rd, a Josh Anthony double scored Connor Davis and Daniel Robert. A Bowen McGuffin single then scored Anthony to make it 5-0.
Those were the last runs Auburn would score before the 4th inning of Sunday's game as the Gamecocks' pitchers shut the Tigers down for over a game and a half. Thankfully, the runs scored early in this one were just enough as the Tigers won 5-4.
Game 2: 0-7 South Carolina
Davis Daniel moved from Sunday to Saturday and his day did not go well, allowing 4 earned runs in 5 1/3 innings. The Tigers could get absolutely nothing going at the plate, only tallying 5 total hits in a 7-0 loss to the Gamecocks.
Game 3: Auburn 6-3
South Carolina scored first Sunday with runs in the 2nd and 4th. Auburn, however, answered back with a big 4th inning themselves thanks to the bats of Jonah Todd and Jay Estes to tie the game. The Tigers took the lead 3-2 in the 6th thanks to their hits and then a sac fly by Dylan Ingram.
The Gamecocks came back with a 3-run 7th inning, though, to take the lead. The Gamecocks' pitchers were stifling the Tigers through most of this game as they continued to hold off the Tigers. The game went to the 9th with the score still 5-3. Part of the reason for that was the play of the infield as Josh Anthony came up with another great diving stop and the Tigers' defense was able to stave off the Gamecocks from adding to their lead.
Jonah Todd - who went 3 for 3 today - started off the final frame with a single. Daniel Robert did the same. Luke Jarvis tried the bunt, but the Gamecocks picked off Todd as the lead runner. Dylan Ingram field out to shallow right to bring Auburn to their final chance at the plate. With the game on the line, Butch Thompson turned to true freshman Connor Davis to pinch-hit.
All Davis did was launch an absolute bomb over the Monster in left field for the 3-run walk-off home run to win the game and the series!
If you want to know what Butch Thompson has meant for Auburn Baseball, then realize that this is the first time since 2003 that the Tigers have won three straight SEC series. He really has done so much so fast.
The biggest thing for Auburn this weekend is that they took the series from the 6th ranked Gamecocks without having the services of ace Keegan Thompson. Thompson was resting his shoulder and Auburn - thanks to a masterful performance by Casey Mize on Friday and then the combination of Ryan Watson, Cole Lipscomb, and Calvin Coker (Andrew Mitchell pitched as well, but he had a rough time giving up 3 in the 7th) on Sunday.
Auburn is now sitting pretty in the SEC race with a sweep of Top 10 Florida, taking the series from UGA in Athens, and then taking the series from the #6 Gamecocks. I think it's past time to acknowledge that this team is for real. This is a team that no one in the post-season is going to want to see with a healthy Keegan and Casey.
Auburn's next game is a mid-week pitch against Georgia Tech in Plainsman Park. They travel to College Station next weekend to take on the Aggies.
WAR DAMN AUBURN BASEBALL!