Friday night saw one of the best outings of Keegan Thompson's career. Saturday night, Casey Mize followed it with an amazing performance of his own.
Mize went the distance and threw a career-high 12 strikeouts to lead Auburn to a 5-3 victory over the Tennessee Tech Golden Eagles. He allowed 7 hits, 3 runs, and only 1 walk in the complete game outing. Of those 7 hits and 3 runs, 2 of them were solo home runs.
It wasn't all sunshine and roses for the Tigers, though. They continued to leave runners on base and have runners thrown out with questionable base-running. The aggressive play still saw the Tigers come away with the win, though. It just could have - and maybe should have - been by a slightly bigger margin.
The Tigers opened the scoring early with a Daniel Robert single that scored Jonah Todd. Robert was thrown out at 1st trying to stretch the single into a double, though. TTU tied it up with a home run in the 2nd and even took a 2-1 lead in the 3rd. The Tigers took the lead back for good in the 4th, though, thanks to a Sam Gillikin double that scored Josh Anthony and a Luke Jarvis single that scored Gillikin and Estes.
The Golden Eagles got one back in the 7th with their second solo home run and things started to look a little dicey for Auburn. Mize got into a jam in the 8th but managed to work his way out of it. Through all his fantastic pitching, he was also backed up by some amazing plays from the Auburn infield throughout the night, too.
Jay Estes put the icing on the cake in the bottom of the 8th with a solo shot to stretch the lead to 5-3. Mize came back out for the 9th and threw a K, allowed a single, and then K'd the final two batters for the win.
With that, Auburn advances to the Regional Final. They'll only need one win to advance and have to be beaten twice to drop the finale. They'll face the winner of Florida State and Tennessee Tech. The Seminoles knocked off UCF in the early game Saturday. The Golden Eagles and Seminoles will play the early game Sunday with the winner having to play a doubleheader and face the Tigers Sunday night. The final game - if necessary - will be played Monday.
Auburn has gotten exactly what they needed in the first two games. The only reliever that has seen any action is Cole Lipscomb, and he only pitched the 9th inning Friday night. Thompson and Mize going as far as they did has saved the rest of Auburn's pitchers for the finale. They'll likely start Davis Daniel in Sunday night's game, and they'll have the full bullpen available behind him.
Sunday night's game will take place at 6:00 pm Central. Currently, it's slated for ESPN 3. We'll see if that changes depending on who wins tomorrow afternoon.
The Tigers are one win away from heading to the Super Regional. Get there and they'll be able to put Thompson and Mize back out on the mound again with tons of confidence. Things are looking real bright for the Tigers, right now. We'll see how it goes from here!