Game 6 - #2 Auburn (2-0) vs #1 Georgia Tech (2-1)
- Sunday: 4-1 W
If there was ever a fan base that needed a release, it was at Russ Chandler Stadium Sunday night. The Auburn Family, student athletes, coaches and fans have gone through the gambit of emotions since February. From deadly storms that ran through Lee County, to an officer paying the ultimate price to serve the Auburn community, to the loss of a beloved friend, colleague, and our Voice last weekend, it has been a way too rough 2019. There have been some high points for sure and you can add Sunday night to that high point that could continue to get even better. The Auburn Tigers are your 2019 Atlanta Regional Champions as they downed the #3 overall seed Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets 4-1 on Sunday evening. It marks back to back regional titles for Auburn and just their 3rd since the field expanded to 64 teams back in 1999.
Auburn went to Bailey Horn who pitched well against Tennessee last week in the SEC Tournament and had the game of his Auburn career Sunday night. Horn went 6 innings of 2 hit ball with a walk and 4 strikeouts. He was able to keep the vaunted Georgia Tech offense off the board and give the Tiger offense time to piece together the hits they needed. While Auburn took a little while to get the right combination of hits and opportunities together to get on the board, they got all they would need in the 6th inning when Rankin Woley, who quietly had a great regional going 5 for 13 with 3 runs scored and 4 RBIs, socked a single to center that scored Will Holland to break the ice. The hero from Saturday night Steven Williams then lined a double down the left field line to score two more to give the Tigers a 3-0 advantage with just 12 outs to get against the Jackets. Cody Greenhill would come on in the 7th inning and would face one over his minimum and that one hit was a solo home run by Tristian English to cut the Tiger lead to 3-1. The Tigers would get that run back in the 9th on a Ryan Bliss single to center that scored Kason Howell. The Jackets would go in order in the 9th, with a Judd Ward diving catch highlighting the proceedings. It was a magical end to the best weekend of baseball this version of the Auburn Tigers has played all season as they punched their ticket to the Super Regionals.
Notes from other Regionals
-SEC Dominance: The conference went 25-8 on the weekend, which is an impressive mark overall (.757 average) and has a total of 6 teams in Super Regionals. We know for sure the SEC will have at least one team in Omaha as Arkansas will host Ole Miss in Fayetteville in the Super Regionals. Auburn will travel to Chapel Hill to take on North Carolina, while LSU will host FSU, Vandy will take on the Duke Blue Devils and Mississippi State awaits the winner of the Fresno State v Stanford game at 9 PM this evening.
As much fun as last year was, this one might be a touch sweeter for all the reasons I listed above, but one I didn’t mention was how unexpected this one is. I don’t know many people that gave this team a chance to get to Sunday much less win the whole dang thing. With the up and down season this team as had, those people couldn’t be blamed for those projections, except to know that Butch Thompson teams don’t stop fighting. Auburn now heads back to the Plains to prepare for the North Carolina Tar Heels in the Super Regionals in Chapel Hill, NC. We will officially find out the dates for that series but I expect it will be a Friday-Sunday matchup since so many other games will be played today to finish off the regional round (a total of 6 games officially with a 7th possible). Butch has said Tanner Burns will not get another start this season as that shoulder just isn’t as far along as Auburn would have hoped so the Tigers will lean on Jack Owen and the emerging arms we saw this weekend as they try to piece it together to get to Omaha. We will have a deep dive on the Heels later this week but for now, let’s just enjoy the Atlanta Regional Champions, the Auburn Tigers!