Auburn @ Missouri
- THU: 15-6 W
- FRI: 3-0 W
- SAT: 7-6 L
It was THIS CLOSE to being a perfect weekend. THIS CLOSE! However, it was a successful weekend as the Tigers picked up their third series win of the season and in so doing, punched their ticket to the SEC Tournament this week in Hoover. Over the first 23 innings of the series, Auburn was the dominant team far and away. Following that, the Auburn pitching staff showed signs of weakness and Missouri jumped on the chance with 7 runs over two innings to lock up a win for their final game of the season. Auburn, however, gets to look forward to a late night meetup with the Ole Miss Rebels in the 5v12 matchup at The Hoover Met, on Tuesday. It is a fantastic reward for a team that struggled to find themselves early in the season, with injuries and loss of confidence that was able to be pieced together to get double digit conference wins on the year.
The coolest part of this weekend is you saw both kinds of games, Auburn wins an offensive blowout and Auburn gets the best pitching performance of the season in a defensive shutout. Rankin Woley continued his hot hitting streak along with Ryan Bliss while Jack Owen and RICHARD FITTS! set the pace on the mound all weekend long.
Even with the hiccup on Saturday, it was a great weekend where Auburn looked as good as they have all conference season. That’s a good thing too because they are about to see the toughest competition of the season the rest of the way this year…as long as they are playing.
HITTING PERFORMANCE OF THE WEEKEND
This was a really close race this weekend between Woley and Bliss but by a hair I will give it to Woley who went 6 for 13 with a home run and 4 RBIs with 2 walks on the weekend. Bliss basically had an extra at bat, going 6 for 14 with a home run, two runs scored and two RBIs. Both guys were and have been big time for an Auburn offense that has clicked all season.
PITCHING PERFORMANCE OF THE WEEKEND
Is there any question that it’s Richard Fitts. All Fitzy did was go 8 innings only giving up a hit while striking out 7 in the best pitching performance of the weekend. If that was the last time we see Fitts this year or in an Auburn uniform, he definitely saved his best for last.
IT’S SEC TOURNAMENT TIME! It’s one of my favorite work weeks of the year as from 9:30-midnight, we’ve got really good baseball and Auburn is involved in it at least for Tuesday. The complete bracket is HERE so you know your times and networks. Auburn gets Ole Miss in the first round, which is single elimination. A loss finishes the season for Auburn but a win buys Auburn two more games at minimum. If you are looking for a start time for the Auburn game, I’d lean towards 8:30ish so make sure to get a nap in at some point on Tuesday. Ole Miss is still looking to host in the NCAA tournament after a series win at Georgia this past weekend. The Rebel ace Gunnar Hoglund is out, after an unfortunate season ending injury that required Tommy John surgery. Luckily for Rebel fans, there isn’t much of a drop off as Doug Nikhazy will toe the rubber for Ole Miss. Nikhazy was injured during the series so Auburn didn’t get a chance to see him but he has been nails all year with a 2.12 ERA and routinely going 6+ innings on his starts, including a complete game against Mississippi State earlier this year. The good news for Auburn is that Jack Owen will more than likely be the starter and during the series earlier this season Jack only threw to eight batters in a bit of a rehab appearance for Jack. Either way you look at it, Auburn will have to be on top of their game to get past this first game. Auburn isn’t expected to win, which is exactly where Auburn can be dangerous. If you are in the Birmingham/Hoover area, head out there and support the guys. They have battled all year long and if this is their one chance to enjoy the reward, let them hear some cheering from their fans. We will have a recap on what happens Wednesday morning but let the healing waters of back to back series wins wash over you and enjoy it!