#15 Florida @ Auburn
- Friday: 4-2 L
- Sunday G1: 10-8 W/7
- Sunday G2: 6-4 L/7
It was a series that was a season in itself, really. Just like they have done all season, Auburn played right with the Gators all series long. Friday night, they both entered the 9th inning tied before the Gators pushed two across to pick up the win. After dodging rain drops and all sorts of other bad weather Saturday, both teams returned for a double dip on Sunday and neither disappointed the crowd. 28 runs scored in 14 innings would tell you this was an offensive shoot out and you’d be right, but you would also miss two really great pitching performances in game 2 from Hunter Barco for Florida and Peyton Glavine who went 3+ innings but just ran out of steam in the 4th, giving up 3 runs to the Gators before leaving the game. In the first game of the day however, Auburn was able to get to Florida starter Tommy Mace early for two runs in the first before he would settle down and allow the Florida offense to take over. Going into the bottom of the 5th (which was more like the 7th on this day), Florida held a 6-4 lead over the Tigers and that’s when the Auburn offense asserted itself. The Tigers scored 6 runs on 7 hits in the inning as both Steven Williams and Cam Hill busted off home runs that pushed the Tigers to the lead and followed it would with back to back to back singles from Bliss, Miller and Woley to push the Tiger lead to 10-6 before the end of the inning. However, it wouldn’t be an Auburn game this year without a little drama and Florida provided that as they scored two in the 7th and brought the tying run to the plate before Will Morrison shut things down with a strike out.
Was it the series win Auburn was looking for, no, not this time, but Auburn never gave up. I know there are no moral victories, but that should be noted. As rough as this season has been, this team keeps chopping and it almost cashed in this weekend against a very good Florida team. Auburn’s schedule lightens up from here on and the Tigers are still firmly in the race for Hoover (just 2 games out of the final spot) with the 3 teams just ahead of them in the standings still to come. It’s definitely not the final goal the Tigers wanted for this season, normally it’s the first one to be honest. However, this season, with the way things have played out, it is a goal that should be shot for.
PITCHING PERFORMANCE OF THE WEEKEND
I don’t think there is any question this is Jack Owen’s moment here. In his first experience as THE guy on Friday nights, all Jack did was give up two runs in the 4th on a bad pitch to the main guy you can’t make a mistake pitch to and he made Jack pay (Judd Fabian for the record), scattered 7 hits elsewhere and struck out 7 with no walks during his 7 innings of work. It was a brilliant job by Owen who hasn’t had the season he was hoping for because of a preseason injury but has made up for it with his last two outings in a win over uat and this past Friday night. I am really excited to see what Jack can do if Huddy and Coach Thompson decided to keep him on Friday nights, which I think he has more than proved himself worthy of that slot.
HITTING PERFORMANCE OF THE WEEKEND
I believe I am going to split the award this weekend because the offense was solid across the board but Tyler Miller showed out a little bit, going 5-12 on the weekend with four RBIs, a home run and a walk to his credit. Not to be outdone, Ryan Bliss went 5-12 as well with four runs scored, five RBIs, a home run and a walk. Along with Steven Williams and Rankin Woley with a sprinkle of Cam Hill, Kason Howell and Brody Moore and this Auburn offense has been essential in Auburn keeping things as tight in games as they have been while the pitching staff works to find themselves.
The Tigers get a much needed week off after going 3-2 this past week with Samford, Jacksonville St and Florida. Auburn will hit the road for a Thursday-Saturday tilt with the Georgia Bulldogs in Athens. This week, Georgia host a mid weeker at home against Tech so that will be a fun one to watch on the + and see what the Tigers are getting into. Georgia will enter this series with a 9-9 conference record that includes a series win on the road at Vandy so that’s a thing and the Dawgs (still spelled incorrectly) are in the thick of the NCAA dance talk with a 26-13 record prior to that game against Tech Tuesday evening. It will definitely be a tough series for Auburn and with how things have gone, I will go with Auburn grabbing a game before leaving Foley, but this could be a series Auburn takes on the road. The last time Auburn took a trip to Athens, the Tigers left with a series win back in 2017 so take that history how you will. Either way, I can personally guarantee that Auburn isn’t going to fold the tent, because everything is still in front of them as we stand right now.