Auburn @ uat
- Thursday: 8-7 L/10
- Friday: 5-4 W
- Saturday: 10-9 L
There’s no real way to sugar coat it. This one hurt. Much like the Arkansas series, Auburn had a lead in every game of this series and were on top or tied going into the final inning, only to have a walk off thrown upon them twice. Saturday, you could see the relief on Carson Swilling’s face that he was able to get the strike out to notch another one run victory in the Tigers SEC wins column. After Saturday afternoon, that brings Auburn’s record in one run games this season to 4-9 (2-8 in SEC play). Sure, the people that sort of cover college baseball have made light of that because, it’s an eye opening stat. But its more than that. It’s jaw dropping. You can’t flip a coin 10 times and get those results. It’s more than just ‘Well the bull pen can’t hold leads’. In a game or two, sure. This weekend, yeah probably. The other team is more talented, against Arkansas, Ole Miss and Miss State, for sure. However, Auburn probably should have swept Arkansas and probably taken the series with Ole Miss. Definitely should have gotten a game against Miss State, who I think is the best team Auburn has seen all year.
Sadly though, the Baseball Gods have not smiled on Auburn this season like they did at the end of the 2019 season. Even though last week was productive at 2-2 (a road win over Georgia Tech shouldn’t be forgotten at all), it still feels like a gut punch and it should. Auburn should have taken 2 of 3 if not swept uat, but shouldas don’t count in the standings and Auburn is behind the 8-ball in the run to Hoover and it doesn’t get any easier this week. The Tigers begin a week long 5 game home stand that includes 3 against the Florida Gators and single games against Samford and Jacksonville State. The best news is that these are at home. Which brings me to my last point during all of this, the Tigers haven’t given up. With all the gut punches of what I’ve listed above and things I haven’t like injuries and Covid protocols, this Auburn team has come out the next day like nothing has happened before. Has previous experience crept in as the game gets late? They are human, of course it has. However, they still come out like gang busters and do everything they can to get the win. That has got to be noted and I know I didn’t hear that this weekend during the broadcasts. Even though they’ve come up short in games this year, you don’t have to question that Auburn will do everything it can to get the win, and I don’t expect that to change this week.
Bounced back in a big way. #WarEagle pic.twitter.com/Hy8eElbhC9— Auburn Baseball (@AuburnBaseball) April 17, 2021
PITCHING PERFORMANCE OF THE WEEKEND
As he came out for the 7th inning, just sort of nodded and said, that’s the Jack I was hoping to see all season. Sadly it came directly in the middle of the season because of injury, but Jack Owen was great on Saturday. Perfect, nope, but he didn’t have to be the whole time. Jack went 7 strong scattering 8 hits and giving up 3 runs while walking 1 pachyderm and striking out 8 and picking up his first win of the season (1-2). It was so good to see for a guy that really deserved a strong outing. Honorable mention goes to Carson Swilling who came out after Jack and got the 2 inning save and rockets to the top of the bullpen arms in my opinion. The freshman from Smiths Station finished his second game of the week and picked up the first save of his college career.
HITTING PERFORMANCE OF THE WEEKEND
Steven Williams has found it. He was able to follow up a 2 home run performance in Atlanta with a 5-12 weekend with 2 Home Runs, a triple, 2 walks, a stolen base and 5 RBIs. Steven found himself in a little slump all the way to the Kentucky series but showed signs of life against Arkansas and Miss State but busted out huge this week with a .438 BA in those 4 games. Auburn has to have him and his leadership if it wants to navigate through this rough patch and he is helping provide the offense that the bullpen must have as its struggles to find an identity.
As I said before, it’s a busy week at the corner of Donahue and Heisman as the Tigers play 5 games in 6 days this week. Auburn welcomes Samford and Jacksonville State on Tuesday and Wednesday at 6pm only to turn around on Friday as the Florida Gators come callin’ for a 3 game set. The Bulldogs are leading the SoCon this season with a 22-14 (12-3) record but have struggled in mid week games, going 5-4 and have 2 losses to Alabama State on that leger. Jacksonville State hold a 17-17 (8-7) record and are coming off a series loss to Eastern Kentucky this past weekend. While Auburn plays Samford, the Gamecocks will be at home taking on Troy so they will be on the back end of their pitching staff as well. Both games will be on the SECN+. We will take a deeper dive on how Florida looks on Thursday with the recap of the midweek action.